A proactive safety technology being implemented by The University of Alabama to detect and notify law enforcement of gunfire is scheduled for a live test today at 5 p.m.
Known as ShotSpotter, the system uses acoustic technology to notify local police departments precisely if, when and where gun incidents occur so officers can respond faster and more safely. The University of Alabama Police Department is deploying ShotSpotter devices in and around the campus area with assistance and support of the city of Tuscaloosa Police Department.
The testing involves an officer firing 36 rounds into a bullet catcher at close range. The testing takes place at two different locations on the campus.
“The testing is safe and designed to register the audio sensors,” said John Hooks, UA chief of police. “We want the community to be aware in case they hear multiple shots being fired around this time.”
For safety reasons, testing areas will be cordoned off, and testing locations will not be disclosed. Area dispatchers will be notified in case they receive calls about the testing.
The technology uses audio sensors placed atop buildings to triangulate the sound of gunfire. To work most effectively, UA needs to place the sensors in strategic locations around the edge of the UA campus.
ShotSpotter can also determine the difference between similar sounds, like fireworks or an engine backfire, thus saving valuable resources. The system can help speed response times for police and emergency teams.
Information is available at http://www.shotspotter.com/
The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.