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Tampa Police to use ShotSpotter technology in high-crime area

Police to test gunshot-detection software next year
Tampa Police cruiser on street
Posted at 6:54 PM, Dec 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-19 05:22:48-05

TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Police Department will test software next year that detects gunshots using audio sensors.

"This will help us narrow down through technology exactly whether it's gunfire or not," said Chief Brian Dugan.

According to the department, ShotSpotter sensors will alert officers of gunfire within 60 seconds with 90 percent accuracy, pinpointing the location within 75 feet.

"We won't be chasing ghosts now where someone thinks they heard something," said Dugan. "It will tell us specifically whether it was gunshots and where exactly it occurred."

Chief Dugan tells ABC Action News the software would have provided key information for officers responding to the third and fourth Seminole Heights killings.

The department plans on installing ShotSpotter sensors in an undisclosed 3-mile area in a few months.

City Council approved the plan using $330,000 from a Department of Justice grant and $100,000 from the Law Enforcement Trust Fund.

Tampa Police says it largely relies on the public to report shots fired and citizen reports are lacking in specifics and are often delayed. They say this technology will increase chances of arresting a suspect.

The University of South Florida will be evaluating the program for the department.