MPD launches ShotSpotter technology in Orange Mound using federal grant

MEMPHIS, TENN. — The Memphis Police Department is using a new system called ShotSpotter to pinpoint gun shots as they happen to help reduce gun violence.

“It gets officers pretty close, almost precisely where the gun fire incident would have occurred,” said Director Mike Rallings.

Director Rallings said only 20 percent of gun fire incidents are reported to police.

He said often times people won’t call police if they hear gun shots in the distance but don’t know exactly where it happened or it happens so often that they get numb to the gunshots.

Rallings said the department is using a $650,000 federal grant for ShotSpotter technology over the next three years.

The system uses a series of small audio sensors installed on top of light posts and buildings, and records gun fire.

Rallings said ShotSpotter has technicians working 24/7 who will alert officers in real time, almost immediately after tracking gun shots.

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“It’s faster more accurate response to the scene, better recovery of any type of evidence, we’re about to get there and interview witnesses faster and most important it helps us identify any victims,” said Rallings.

He said they’re starting with a three-mile radius between the Airways and Tillman precincts.

Rallings said the department selected Orange Mound after reviewing hotspots and crime stats for gun fire, aggravated assaults and arrests involving guns.

He said they will review data from the program within the next 30 day and 90 days to evaluate how the program is working.

“Hopefully we’ll see a reduction in shots fired being reported, shots fired being picked up by the system, and hopefully it’ll lead to a reduction in aggravated assaults and possibly armed robberies,” said Rallings.

ShotSpotter is new to Memphis but it’s already in 100s of cities. In the Mid-South region, the company is in Little Rock, AR and Jackson, TN.