Gunshot recognition technology underway in Escambia County

ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Fla. (WKRG) — Gunshot recognition technology called ShotSpotter is up and running in Escambia County.

The technology uses sound sensors to determine where a shot is fired. The goal is to allow a faster response from law enforcement.

“When it comes to a shooting or someone being hurt, every second counts,” Escambia County Sheriff Chip Simmons said. “So the faster we can respond, the faster we can provide assistance to a victim, but also the faster we can apprehend a suspect.”

The technology will be used to detect gunshots in 3 square kilometers of the city and 3 square kilometers of the county.

The technology has been up and running in Escambia County for almost 3 weeks now, and Sheriff Chip Simmons said it’s already working.

So far, 28 shots have been detected. However, he said the majority of those shots have been things like target practice.

“We had a situation where ShotSpotter went into action; we had deputies that were able to arrive and about two minutes later we got our first 911 call,” Sheriff Simmons said.

The Pensacola Police Department said the technology will be running on their end next month.

ShotSpotter becomes part of a real-time crime center where surveillance video is sent directly to ECSO.

“If it were to go down, our analysts can also take a look at any cameras in the area, see if there might be a car fleeing, see if there might be some kind of response we can get to our deputies regarding a perimeter or an arrival,” said Sheriff Simmons.

The real-time crime center is partially up and running. The sheriff hopes to have it fully operational by January 1.

“Our hope is that people won’t shoot each other in anger,” Sheriff Simmons said. “Our hope is that people will say, ‘Hey, if I do this, there’s a very good chance we’re going to get caught.’ That’s what we want.”

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