Police Explain Purpose Of ShotSpotter Testing

By Jeff Todd

DENVER (CBS4) – Denver police startled some neighbors while testing the ShotSpotter system throughout the city on Monday night.

“We have a bunch of different sensors in Denver. Those sensors pick up gunfire,” said Denver police spokesman Lt. Aaron Sanchez. “From time to time, we like to test to make sure it’s working properly where we have our ShotSpotter set up.”

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(credit: CBS)

The four neighborhoods in Denver that have the technology were all tested.

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SWAT officers fired dozens of rounds to see if the system was working properly.

“What we’re looking for is did a tree grow too big? Did a new building come up? Or something along those lines,” said Sanchez.

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(credit: CBS)

The ShotSpotter can triangulate a gunshot within 80 feet and deliver the information to officers on their computers or phones within 30 seconds.

DPD says since early 2015, the system has led to 96 arrests and taking 76 guns off the streets.

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(credit: CBS)

“The only way to test the system is live gunfire,” Sanchez said.

DPD was hoping for more difficult conditions with falling snow and potentially more foliage on trees to challenge the system.

One test location was picked near a gully to create an echo.

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(credit: CBS)

“The idea is, if it were to fail in any place, we would get with their engineers and potentially put in new sensors. Whatever needs to be done to blanket the neighborhood,” Sanchez said.

Initial reports showed the system to be working flawlessly. There are no public plans to grow the ShotSpotter system within Denver.

Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he’s been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.

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