INDIANAPOLIS — Starting this week IMPD is no longer responding to gunshot detection technology in real time.
Beginning in October the city began to saturate the near east side with gunshot detection sensors.
That allowed officers to be notified about gunshots while sitting in their squad cars without having to wait for a 911 call.
The department will now begin to analyze test results from the pilot program to decide if the system should be implemented on a permanent basis.
Just last week at least a half dozen homes were damaged by gunfire during an apparent drive-by shooting. Police on scene that night praised gunshot technology in the neighborhood for helping officers respond quickly.
“We’ve seen this technology on multiple occasions now help solve crimes and help save lives,” said IMPD major Mike Leepper. “So the technology is proving to be worth its weight.”
For the last two months, temporary sensors were installed to test gunshot detection technology in real time using multiple vendors.
“We’ve definitely seen some data that has put us in the right places during these incidents,” said IMPD commander Matthew Thomas. “With the gunshot detection system, the officers have the info with seconds of the event occurring. This gives us an opportunity to respond more quickly. Seconds matter when rendering medical aide or responding to a crime scene.”
Commander Thomas says data from the pilot program will now be studied to see how much response times were improved and if it allowed for quicker medical assistance, before deciding about the system’s value long term.
“Ultimately we’re looking for a return on investment that makes sense for our city,” said Thomas.
“Fire and EMS have told our department that certain incidents would have been homicides had the system not alerted our officers so quickly,” said Indy FOP president Rick Snyder.
FOP president Snyder believes the technology has saved lives.
“When people say how much would the system cost? How much is the system worth? I think most would say it’s priceless at that point,” said Snyder.
While the city focused the pilot program over nearly 5 square miles around 10th and Rural, Snyder would like to see a permanent system cover a square mile in downtown, as well as Broad Ripple, while still monitoring a handful of specific high crime areas.
“I think it’s critical for an urban core to have,” said Snyder. “What we would advocate is, as positive as this is, and I’m confident we’ll see positive results in the analysis of it. We still advocate for multiple footprints,” said Snyder.
Snyder also believes in having private businesses plug into the system to expand the footprint further.
The city is partnering with IUPUI to analyze the data.
There is no exact timeline for how long that analysis will take before a decision about future funding is made.