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Gunshot Identification, Triangulation and Recording

National Association of Counties - 2008 - NACo Achievement Award

Summary

The Richland County Information Technology Department and the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, working with ShotSpotter, Inc., installed a gunshot location and detection system. The system was deployed to increase citizen safety and decrease law enforcement response times while maintaining any evidence collected for possible use in criminal proceedings.

Description

The Richland County Information Technology Department and the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, working with ShotSpotter, Inc., installed a gunshot location and detection system. The system was deployed to increase citizen safety and decrease law enforcement response times while maintaining any evidence collected for possible use in criminal proceedings. ShotSpotter is designed to identify gunshots, triangulate the location and save this information along with an audio recording for evidence. This was accomplished by deploying multiple remote sensors throughout a two square mile test area that reports back to a server and notifies the appropriate public safety personnel that a shot was fired. This gunshot identification system can benefit public safety officials in several ways. A reduction in gunfire typically follows an installation of this type simply due to public awareness that it is in place. The ability to reduce law enforcement response time is built into the system as well. Instead of having to wait for a 911 call to be placed, law enforcement officials are alerted by the ShotSpotter system when gunshots are detected. The process of evidence collection is also greatly improved. This new system can help in court cases to determine who fired first, what order the remaining shots were fired in and if the shots were from more than one location. The program, to date, has been extremely successful. They system has been able to identify gun shots that are occurring nearly every day and units have been dispatched accordingly. In one month alone, 114 gun shots in 87 separate incidents were recorded. This same month had 387 other loud noises that were ruled out by the system. This system even detected gunshots outside the test area. While shots detected and reported outside the test area are not triangulated, they are still helpful by notifying officers immediately and giving a good starting location.

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Tags: Criminal Justice and Public Safety, Government Performance and Management, Technology





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