SPOKANE, Wash. — When people call 911 to report a gunshot, they don't always know exactly where it came from, and that's a problem for police when seconds save lives and the shooter is still at large.
Gunshot detection devices could change everything. EAGL Technologies is the New Mexico company behind it. When the system detects a gunshot, it alerts first responders and tells them where to go.
"This really does seem to be an effective technology and when you consider the level of violence and shootings that are happening in our community," Spokane City Councilman Michael Cathcart said.
The Spokane Police Department started looking into the technology last summer when the city saw a rash of gun violence and drive-by shootings, including one in which an officer was shot and injured.
Other gunshot detection devices on the market rely on microphones, raising privacy concerns. But, EAGL Technologies says their system is different.
"This version that we're looking at actually uses energy and it detects the energy emitted by a gunshot, and so all those privacy concerns folks might have, those kind of go out the window," Cathcart said. "The biggest problem and the reason why it's not installed yet is that it's very costly."
That's because in order to cover just a few square miles, the police department would need hundreds of sensors. In short, the bigger the square mileage, the bigger the cost. During a public safety committee meeting last July, startup costs were estimated to exceed $1 million, not including maintenance and licensing.
The project could be funded using a grant from the department of justice, which SPD is applying for.
"This really does seem to be an effective technology and when you consider the level of violence and shootings that are happening in our community all across the area," Cathcart said. "I mean, we have got to figure out how we can put a stop to that."
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