Sacramento Police ShotSpotter Helps Officers Locate Shooting Victim

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An audio gunshot detector was set off Wednesday night in North Sacramento and allowed officers to find a shooting victim. The audio monitoring system is being used on a one year test basis in the area to pinpoint the origin of gunfire.

The man was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening wounds. Police said he was uncooperative with police and may not have contacted authorities despite being wounded.

Still, neighbors in the area believe the system proved its worth by getting officers to a shooting scene even before emergency calls were made.

Neighborhood resident Dante Smith said gunshots are so frequent that residents may not bother calling police or are afraid to do so if gunmen are still on the loose.

"It's going to tell them where the shots are coming from, it's going to tell them where the action is so they can get there as soon as possible. If they don't know, how are they going to help us?" Smith said.

Greg Jefferson, president of the Del Paso Heights Community Association, said it can be a valuable tool to get officers to the scene if a victim is injured and unable to call 911.

He is undeterred by the $150,000 cost of the one-year test of the system, money that could be used to hire more officers.

"If there is a device the could potentially save someone's life, I think you can't put a dollar value on someone's life ... it's a great asset," Jefferson said.

While the system is still being evaluated, the Sacramento Police Department says since June when it was fired up, it has been activated 184 times. Detectors are scattered in undisclosed locations and are able to locate gunfire to within 25 feet.

Department spokesperson Traci Trapani said speed to the scene is essential to not only render medical aide to victims and canvass the area but to gather evidence before it is scattered or destroyed, by traffic for instance.

"The quicker we can get officers there on scene, the better,"Trapani said.

The system is used in conjunction with community interaction by officers. When they respond to an activation, they talk to neighbors and hand out notices asking for information they might have on the incident.


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