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Metro Council approves funds to explore gunshot detection technology

June 24, 2016

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- In the budget approved on Thursday night, Louisville Metro Council has set aside more than $212,000 for metro police to explore new technology in the hopes of cutting down the gun violence.

The program being considered is called “ShotSpotter”. It’s a technology that uses acoustic sensors to triangulate the exact location of gunshots, that information is then confirmed at their Incident Review Center then sent to local police.

District 1 Councilwoman Jessica Green said Chief Steve Conrad will be the one to decide if this is something he thinks would be beneficial to LMPD or if that money would be better used to buy more cameras.

"We understand that we are in the middle of a crisis here in Louisville, we are on track to perhaps have one of the worst years in terms of homicides that the city has ever seen," Green said.

It has been a deadly year on the Louisville streets with 51 homicides as of this week, compared to 28 last year at this point.

Green said this trend in gun violence is part of the reason Metro Council has earmarked the money to explore additional technology aimed at cutting down on gun crimes.

"I think unanimously, my colleagues yesterday recognize that we've got to do more, people are living in fear," Green said.

ShotSpotter CEO Ralph Clark says the program is faster and more accurate than many 911 calls.

"Our technology is alerting within 30-45 seconds and that is from the trigger being in pulled to a dot showing up, a confirmed alert showing up in a dispatch center that time is 30-45 seconds. Then for the 911 calls, again 80-90% of the time 911 calls don't happen and then when they do happen, they typically happen three minutes after the gunfire event," Ralph Clark said.

The Metro Council Public Safety Committee heard a presentation from ShotSpotter, as well as representatives from Minneapolis and Kansas City Police Departments that both use the program.

Green said if they are installed, the ShotSpotter sensors would be placed in neighborhoods where data shows the most gun activity.

“I want to place it on the roughest spots for us to just use one year to see if it works for us, to see if there is any use out of it, and if it does for us to continue to be able to find the money, if it doesn't work then we've tried it. I just feel like we owe it to our constituents to do every single thing that we can to try to protect them,” said Green.

Green also said adding this technology would take some of the burden off citizens who are afraid to call 911.

Metro Council asked Chief Conrad to report back to them on whether he thinks the ShotSpotter Program would be feasible in Louisville, by November.

WHAS 11- Louisville KY