Indianapolis gunshot detection system

INDIANAPOLIS — Starting this week, the IMPD no longer responds to real-time gunshot detection technology.

Beginning in October, the city began saturating the near-east side with gunfire detection sensors.

This allowed officers to be notified of gunshots while seated in their squad cars without having to wait for a 911 call.

The ministry will now begin analyzing the test results of the pilot program to decide whether the system should be implemented permanently.

Just last week at least half a dozen houses were damaged by gunfire in an apparent drive-by shooting. Police at the scene that night praised gunfire technology in the neighborhood for helping officers respond quickly.

“We have seen this technology repeatedly help solve crimes and help save lives,” said WISP Major Mike Leepper. “So the technology turns out to be worth its weight in gold.”

Since two months, temporary sensors were installed to test the gunshot detection technology in real time using multiple providers.

“We certainly saw data that put us in the right place during these incidents,” said IMPD Commander Matthew Thomas. “With the gunshot detection system, officers have the information within seconds of what event is happening. This allows us to react faster. Seconds count when it comes to providing medical aid or to intervene at a crime scene.

Commander Thomas says the data from the pilot program will now be studied to see how much response times have been improved and whether this has allowed for faster medical assistance, before deciding on the long-term value of the system.

“Ultimately, we’re looking for a return on investment that makes sense for our city,” Thomas said.

“Fire and EMS told our department that some incidents would have been homicides if the system hadn’t alerted our officers so quickly,” Indy FOP President Rick Snyder said.

FOP President Snyder believes technology has saved lives.

“When people say how much would the system cost? How much is the system worth? I think most would say it’s invaluable at this point,” Snyder said.

While the city has focused the pilot program on nearly 5 square miles around 10th and Rural, Snyder would like to see a permanent system cover a square mile downtown, as well as Broad Ripple, while monitoring a handful of specific areas in high crime.

“I think it’s essential for an urban core to have,” Snyder said. “What we would advocate is, as positive as it is, and I am confident that we will see positive results in the analysis of this one. We always advocate for multiple fingerprints,” Snyder said.

Snyder also believes it’s important for private companies to plug into the system to further expand the footprint.

The city is partnering with IUPUI to analyze the data.

There is no specific timeline for how long this analysis will take before a decision on future funding is made.

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