LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The homicide that happened early Friday morning is just one of the many that has been detected by a new system the Little Rock Police Department has been using since the end of last year.
That system is called ShotSpotter.
Eric Barnes, the Little Rock Police Department public information officer, said the list goes on and on of how this system has helped them with responding to gunshots and with the investigative work that comes after the fact.
"There's just story after story where this has put us in a great location and an immediate area to either find someone or obtain evidence to look into," he said.
The ShotSpotter system is trusted in over 90 cities across the country and it runs off three main platforms: detect, protect, and connect.
It is a crime-fighting tool that was a work in progress for over two decades and it takes community policing to a whole other level.
ShotSpotter monitors gunfire activity 24/7 and provides detailed information of 90% of gunfire incidents, all in less than 60 seconds.
Barnes said it basically works like a microphone.
"It picks up the sound frequency of a gunshot and notifies their headquarters, which in return, dispatches us," he said.
According to ShotSpotter's website, these are the steps the system goes through:
1) An acoustic sensor is placed on buildings or lampposts in neighborhoods.
2) If shots are fired in the specific area, multiple sensors detect and timestamp the sound.
3) The exact location of the gunshot is determined based on the amount of time it takes for the sound of the gunshot to travel to each individual sensor. It locates sounds within 25 meters of the device.
4) An alert is sent to ShotSpotter's review center, where trained acoustic experts determine whether or not the noise was actually gunfire.
5) The system then alerts police in that area through computers and a mobile app.
Barnes said these steps cut down police response time immensely.
"That's very vital for us to get medical assistance there quicker, recover evidence and then working with ShotSpotter from the detective side, it's another tool to be able to come up with more information about your case and just continuing those investigations," he said.
On top of these advantages, ShotSpotter can also give detailed forensic reports and expert witness testimonies.
All in all, Barnes said tools like these help them at trying to put an end to gun violence everywhere.
"It's going to encourage people to know we are driven to make this work and driven to lower the violence and this is just one more tool we want to use to try to make this a safer city," he said.
Barnes said ShotSpotter began in Little Rock through a grant and the Little Rock Police Department applied for an additional grant to continue using this program.
As far as where the ShotSpotters are located, he said the LRPD looked at gun violence issues in previous years and decided where the best locations would be based on that information.