NewsCovering Kern County


First ShotSpotter testing underway in Bakersfield

ShotSpotter instillation complete
Posted at 6:12 PM, Mar 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-09 21:12:19-05

Bakersfield Police Department (BPD) has spent the last month installing the new ShotSpotter technology, and last night they began testing the new gun fire detection system for the first time.

“We had a vehicle filled with sand, we had some of our professional rain staff members of the Bakersfield Police Department who are proficiently trained in firearms  fire the minimum amount of rounds necessary to generate a positive test,” BPD Public Information Officer Sergeant Kroeker said.

BPD’s rapid notify system sent out a call to all landline phones in the testing areas using the information from the phone companies in those locations to notify residents. “And we didn't want people to be alarmed when they heard gunshots last night so that's why we sent out that alert system to notify people," Kroeker said.

Don't expect any more calls like this, pertaining to ShotSpotter, because from now on only dispatchers will receive gun fire notifications from ShotSpotter sensors in the two and a half square mile radius running from Washington Street to Chester and Brundage Lane to California Street once it’s officially live.

The system activates during gunfire through the use microphones placed around the city. It records for six seconds total, then sends officers and dispatchers GPS coordinates of where the shots were heard. Once a ShotSpotter hears a shot, it takes 45 seconds for the program to be able to determine if a shot is from a gun or something else. 

BPD officers have already been trained, registered and logged onto the alert system for weeks. Kroeker said the first test last night yielded positive results and now there’s only one step left before the ShotSpotter's official launch in areas responsible for 30% to 35% of the shootings in Bakersfield.

BPD told 23ABC they just have to install the new software in their computers and then they should be good to go, however, they were still unable to give a firm date on the official launch of the ShotSpotter system. 

We will continue to update you as we learn more.