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Bullet Detection Systems in Colorado Springs

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- To combat the rise of gun violence in the Pikes Peak area, the Colorado Springs Police Department has adopted a gunshot detection system that helps officers determine where shots were fired.

The department implemented the system in 2018. Police say the system is similar to ShotSpotter, which is what the Denver Police Department uses. In Denver, the system is placed across all six districts the department covers.

According to data shared from the Denver Police Department, their system sent out close to 3,000 alerts to officers in 2020. With the head start of where the shootings happened, police were able to make 105 arrests for gun-related crimes and recovered 77 firearms.

Tuesday night, officers conducted a live-fire calibration testing of their gunshot detection system. The testing was done in the Valley Hi, Park Hill, and Pikes Peak neighborhoods.

While police warned people of the noise and disturbance, some residents said they thought the gunshot detection system helped.

“It’s cool to be able to tell when shots are fired but that is not preventing the shots from being fired,” said Janet Cook, who lives in southeast Colorado Springs near Chelton and Academy where one of the detection systems is in place.

Cook and other residents told KRDO they often hear shots being fired throughout their neighborhood.

“Over the summer it was not uncommon to hear gunshots two, three, or even four gunshots a week,” Cook said.

KRDO reached out to the Colorado Springs Police Department requesting data similar to Denver's to analyze the effectiveness of the gunshot detection system. The department declined to release the data and said the following:

We notify the public so there is no community concern but do not release information on how they work, what they look like, etc. in order to protect the program's integrity.

Colorado Springs Police Department

In August, Chicago's watchdog agency reported ShotSpotter rarely produces evidence of gun-related crime in the city. The system came under scrutiny after it allegedly set in motion events that led to the shooting of a 13-year-old boy by Chicago police.

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Cindy Centofanti

Cindy is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about her here.

Comments

3 Comments

  1. So open transparency would have advised that systems like the “Bullet Detection Systems” only operate as a p@ssive reactionary response. Meaning that the report of a gunshot that has already been fired for it to work. This system only @ssists officers to find the approximate area from where the shot was fired by triangulating the time the report of the discharge of the firearm by triangulating 3 or more concurrent reports from different locations where these systems are positioned around the SE side of town. This high-tech aid was not meant as a end-all, be-all solution, but an additional tool to @ssist the number of patrol officers in providing to faster response times to emergent calls for service. But as CSPD and the city of Colorado Springs has shown time and again, they overextend any technological aid to act in stead of the LEO’s, not as the technology is meant, to @ssist and aid LEO’s.
    It’s the same with the red light cameras, This type of equipment must be verified that it is operating within calibrations set by the state, just as the Officer’s RADAR equipment for enforcement of speed regulations must be verified to be operating within the state’s calibrations.
    The main difference is the RADARS are checked before usage as required by the law. Do you think the red light cameras are verified before usage proving are operating within the states calibrations to meet the same burden as what is required by similar equipment used by Law Enforcement? If the red lights were legitimized and proven to be beyond reproach regarding the high burden of proof our court system requires, why does the state agencies not utilize them? Or every county? Or every incorporated city?

  2. Was the system really responsible in Denver for any arrests, that sounds like a very subjective conclusion. Sounds like a waste of money for some kind of a sweetheart arrangement between the manufacturer and politicians.
    I would also like to know if the acoustic signature of a gunshot can be differentiated from that of a firecracker.
    I would prefer some type of corrupt politician detection system.

    1. I’d imagine it may have possibly aided in a faster response, but this theory is still filled with conjecture. Was it solely responsible? Or did it just aid them?
      My guess is it was a new fangled whiz-bang and it was marketed and sold to desperate but ignorant and uneducated elected officials and government administrators that must have thought that buying a reactive piece of equipment would be better than actively patrolling the streets like Law Enforcement is expected to accomplish.

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