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University of Alabama considering ShotSpotter technology to identify, respond to gunshots

May 02, 2017
WBRC: University of Alabama

TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) -

If someone fires a gun on or near the University of Alabama Campus, UA Campus Police want to be able to hear it.

"It's always good to know what's there and somebody says I heard a gunshot and you go over there," Tuscaloosa City Councilman Eddie Pugh said on Tuesday.

Pugh chairs the city council Public Safety Committee. He said University officials approached city leaders recently about installing ShotSpotter equipment on city right of ways just off campus.

"They can send more people and have a better response if you know exactly what you're responding to. So this is a University system that the city will also benefit from," Pugh added.

ShotSpotter uses acoustic technology to notify police precisely if, when, and where guns are fired.

On Monday morning, a university spokesman said UA Police Chief John Hooks was available to talk Tuesday morning about the need for using ShotSpotter.

We were later told he was no longer available and the school will not be doing any on camera interviews about it.

Students question if it's really needed and if it's worth the money.

"I like the fact that they're being proactive. In fact, I'd rather they do it now. I would like to see where the funding is coming from and maybe what their motivation is," Patrick Lang, a senior from Chicago wondered.