ShotSpotter technology coming soon to Jacksonville

System detects gunfire, alerts police

By Tarik Minor - Anchor, I-TEAM reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Technology intended to help police respond to shootings faster in Northwest Jacksonvillle will be in place by the summer, News4Jax learned Friday.

ShotSpotter will detect gunfire and alert authorities right away.

Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said he hopes the technology will cut down on deaths and help lead to more arrests.

“It will allow us to identify (with) really a lot of accuracy where gunshots have occurred,” Williams said. “We can also do that in real time and be able to respond quickly to those areas.”

He looks forward to seeing what effect ShotSpotter will have on the crime-ridden areas of Jacksonville.

Starting this summer, the technology will be set up in a five-square-mile area of Northwest Jacksonville. It’ll work like this: Sensors will be placed on the tops of buildings, and if a gunshot is heard within 80 feet of that sensor, dispatchers will receive alerts on their computers. Officers on patrol also will be able to view maps of where the gunfire was detected.

The technology could have saved the life of Erron Brooks, who was shot to death three years ago, said LaWanda Taylor, Brooks’ mother.

“My son was shot (at) 8:30 that night and he laid there until 6-something in the morning,” Taylor said.

Police said neighbors heard the gunshots that killed Brooks, but no one called 911.
“It's nobody to blame in the situation, and I don't blame anyone for not calling, but you have to put yourself in my shoes and think, ‘(What) if it was my child or my family member?’” Taylor said.

No arrests have been made in Brooks' death.

The city hopes to pay for the ShotSpotter technology with money left over from finished capital-improvement projects.

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