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Fresno Unified invests $500,000 in gunshot-tracking technology

March 01, 2016

 

Police Chief Jerry Dyer introduces the Shotspotter Technology (SST) Flex Gunshot Detection System during a press conference at Fresno Police Headquarters in Fresno. The SST Flex provides rapid alerts of gunfire incidents to both the Communications Center and to patrol officers. Video by SILVIA FLORES sflores@fresnobee.com SILVIA FLORES sflores@fresnobee.com

Fresno Unified School District is investing $500,000 in gunshot-tracking technology, giving the Fresno Police Department a boost in its fight against gang-related crime. But the Fresno Teachers Association says that the money could have been used in other ways to improve student safety.

Fresno police introduced the ShotSpotter system last year in hopes of better pinpointing gunfire across the city. Between 2014 and 2015, reports of shootings in Fresno increased by 20 percent.

ShotSpotter uses sensors to notify officers within seconds of gunfire, bypassing a 911 call. The system detects legitimate gunshots and passes the information directly to the dispatch center and police cars, alerting officers exactly where and when a shot was fired.

Police received a $150,000 state grant in 2015 to install the system in parts of Fresno, and the Fresno Unified school board unanimously voted last week to contribute $500,000 over the next three years, allowing schools to act as detection centers.

The system’s coverage area will expand from 3 square miles to 6 with the school district’s partnership, and will encompass 24 schools and their surrounding neighborhoods, according to police Chief Jerry Dyer. The goal is to expand to 12 square miles over the next year, Dyer said.

Fresno police Capt. Mike Reid, who oversees the system, said it has exceeded expectations since it was implemented about eight months ago.

Fresno Bee