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Springfield Police to propose ShotSpotter technology to city council

Published: Feb. 22, 2021 at 4:42 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Springfield police are asking the city council to approve new equipment that aims to provide faster response to shooting incidents in Springfield. It’s a tool called Shotspotter.

Just over two weeks ago, shots rang out in downtown Springfield, near Walnut and Patton. Thirty-two year old Robert Moffett was shot in the chest and later died. Police say there were no witnesses. It’s in outdoor shootings like this, police say ShotSpotter technology could help.

Shotspotter uses sound waves to detect gunshots, and triangulate the position. The company says it provides a location to officers in 30 to 45 seconds, so they can respond even before a 911 call.

“Less than a minute; that sounds insane,” says Braden Lee, who works in downtown Springfield. “I think any kind of technology that we can use to help stop crime or just help people in general, I think is beneficial.”

As shootings have spiked in Springfield over the last year, police propose adding the equipment in a total of three square miles of the city, though we don’t yet know where.

“I like the idea of it,” says Ryan Lindsey, who also works downtown. “I think it’s a good idea, and anytime you’re able to respond to a shooting quicker so you can help the victim quicker, maybe save more lives, that’s a good thing.”

But Lindsey has some questions about technology that’s always listening.

“I think it sounds like a good idea on the surface. I definitely think anytime there’s new technologies like this, people should be wary of how they might be used for purposes other than their intended,” says Lindsey.

ShotSpotter says their system listens only for gunfire.

Ralph Clark, ShotSpotter CEO, says, “What triggers our sensors are loud impulsive noises, not human conversations. The system is in no way designed to listen to people’s conversations at all. That being said, we do know that the privacy issue is of concern to many communities. And for that reason, we’ve tried to lean in on this issue and be completely transparent with exactly how our system works, being very progressive in terms of establishing a privacy policy.”

Springfield Police would transfer funds within the department budget to cover the initial 3-year term of the agreement, with a cost of $430,000. City Council will hear about the technology for the first time Monday night.

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