Program expanding: ShotSpotter to be used more in Milwaukee

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- As shootings in Milwaukee continue to rip through communities -- police are working to expand their ShotSpotter program. The ShotSpotter technology picks up audio of gunshots and allows the police to pinpoint exactly where shootings happen.

On Wednesday, May 21st, 10-year-old Sierra Guyton was caught in the crossfire -- shot on a playground near 28th and Clarke as she played on a beautiful spring day.

In this shooting incident, as is the case with many others, police were notified of the shooting by ShotSpotter -- even before the 911 calls started to come in.

Since the shots rang out in the Metcalfe Neighborhood last Wednesday -- Sierra Guyton has been inside Children's Hospital -- receiving treatment after she was shot in the head.

That night, when briefing media at the shooting scene, Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn credited ShotSpotter with getting his officers to the scene quickly.

Because of its success -- MPD is expanding its use in the city.

"It has really changed how we police some neighborhoods that are affected by gunfire," MPD Captain Jason Smith said.

Captain Smith describes how ShotSpotter helped in the shooting involving little Sierra Guyton.

"ShotSpotter assisted in drawing officers to the location. The technology is very precise. It lets us know within a few meters of where that shot went off," Captain Smith said.

"We completely changed the dynamic because we're reporting every single time a gun is fired outdoors. We're doing it very quickly and we're also doing it very precisely," Ralph Clark said.

Clark is the president and CEO of SST -- the company that provides ShotSpotter to law enforcement agencies across the country.

"They're using this tool to enhance community policing. That's the highest and best use of this technology," Clark said.

As MPD has learned how to use the technology, Captain Smith believes it has made an impact in the community.

"Violent crime creates fear in neighborhoods. Knowing that there is another piece out there allowing the police to respond more effectively -- it reduces some of that fear," Captain Smith said.

It also gives officers more information when gunfire erupts.

"Sometimes it's as precise as putting it at the mouth of the alley or middle of the alley -- so officers have some indication of what they're walking into," Captain Smith said.

Police can also use ShotSpotter to help in court cases by allowing them to know if more than one gun was used -- and which gun was fired first.

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1 Comment

  • Christian W

    That’s all fine and dandy but the downside to this is… Shotspotter only works AFTER the damage was done.. It’s not going to be much of a consolation to the next family who’s kid is going to be caught in the crossfire of more idiots who, for some reason, aren’t behind bars even with a criminal record as long as my arm

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