Gunshot locator service to be considered by Wilm. Council

By Tom Lehman 10:54pm, January 16, 2014 - Updated 9:38pm, January 17, 2014
VIDEO: Wilmington City Councilman Mike Brown (R-At Large) discusses proposed legislation for a contract for a gunshot locator system.
A high-tech system that alerts police to the locations of gunshots could be coming to Wilmington.

WDEL's Tom Lehman has more...

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A bill authorizing a three-year, $415,000 contract with ShotSpotter, a company that produces gunshot locator systems, was introduced Thursday by Councilman Mike Brown (R-At Large).

The system, which uses a network of microphones around the city, could help officers locate the sources of gunfire more quickly, Brown said.

"The ShotSpotter will exactly zoom in to that neighborhood, hooked up to cameras, and they'll be able to identify exactly what area the shot came from," he said.

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The contract is expected to be considered by the city's Public Safety committee on Feb. 10 before a possible decision by council the following week.

Brown said Mayor Williams was "very excited" about the prospect of using ShotSpotter after a recent presentation from the company, which is based out of Newark, Calif.

If the contract is approved, Police Chief Christine Dunning said the system could also reduce the response time for gunshots.

"By the time somebody in the neighborhood hears it, and sometimes they can't tell exactly where the shot is from, they go to the phone and are calling in--you're talking about a one-minute or two-minute delay," she said.

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Dunning also noted that some shootings go unreported but the ShotSpotter system could help locate those incidents.

"We've actually had our officers out on the street, we don't even get a call for gunfire, and our officers are hearing it while they're out there walking," she said.

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