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SAGINAW, MI — Recent changes to Saginaw Police Department's audio and video technology on the streets will enhance its ability to fight violent crime in the city, Acting Police Chief Brian Lipe told city leaders Monday, Dec. 10.
The about 32 ShotSpotter systems spread across the city, Lipe said, are now integrated with the city's series of surveillance cameras.
Now, when the gunshot detection system hears gunfire it will trigger cameras in the area to rotate and focus on the area of the shots.
"As recently as Dec. 4, we've begun integrating ShotSpotter with our camera system," Lipe said. "Hopefully, it will capture that incident on the server down at the RAPTOR center."
Supervisors at the city police station, he said, will be able to review video footage while officers on on their way to the scene.
As well as helping police responding to a possible shooting, Lipe said the change will also give video footage to officers investigating violent crimes.
"As of right now, the cameras are either in a fixed position or a rotating position," he said. "So depending on, luck have it, it may or may not capture the incident. Whereas now, if it's facing completely opposite the incident, it will rotate back and catch it."
City leaders on Monday approved a $63,150 payment to provide data analysis and maintenance of the ShotSpotter system.
"We've made the investmentment into the ShotSpotter system," City Manager Darnell Earley said. "We have an opportunity to enhance it and to use it as another tool in our arsenal in crime fighting."
The ShotSpotter has been faced with technical difficulties since its inception and, though many were solved earlier this year, Lipe said there are still units that are not working properly.
"We currently have six sensors that are broke," he said.
The acting chief said the payment approved by city leaders will allow crews from the company to come repair the broken units.
Lipe said the new agreement means a few changes to how the system works.
First, he said, ShotSpotter will be responsible for determining if a noise is a gunshot or something else. Saginaw County Central Dispatch was formerly responsible for that task, Lipe said.
The new agreement will also include a web-based interface for watching video footage, meaning officers will now be able to check cameras from their in-car computers.