NewsCovering Kern County


New technology to respond faster to gunshots could come to Bakersfield

Can locate shots within 6 feet within 45 seconds
Posted at 5:34 PM, Dec 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-14 23:55:35-05

Reacting to gunshots quicker. That's what Bakersfield Police officers say the goal is for their new technology. 

Thursday during a city safety meeting, BPD officials announced the technology called ShotSpotter. They hope the technology will improve safety and response time in the community. 

Bakersfield Police Chief, Lyle Martin, said during the meeting, "This is again our surgical approach to addressing gang violence."

Chief Martin said there have been 42 gang related shootings so far this year. Which is below last year's total of 73 and the 3 year average of 52 gang related shootings. Now BPD is planning to setup new ShotSpotter technology in high gunshot areas to better protect the community.

Lt. Jason Townsend said, "We have people who are afraid to leave their houses. And then go to the park and walk their children. There's a lot of schools in this area, this area really seemed like it could use this technology."

This is how ShotSpotter works, BPD officials say they will put sensors up in a three square mile area where they have seen the most gunshots. That area includes, Brundage Lane to California Avenue, Chester Avenue to Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard in Central and East Bakersfield. The sensors will triangulate where the shot is coming from and send that information to officers with 45 seconds. Shotspotter can figure out if the shots were fired in a moving vehicle and if so which direction it's traveling. Also if the gun was automatic.

"This will allow us to get the calls quicker. It will allow us to provide medical aid to any victims quicker. It will let the community members know that we care about the area. It absolutely will be crucial," said Lt. Townsend.

Lt. Townsend also gave us an example of when one person called because they heard gun shots. He said officers responded to her address, when had they been using ShotSpotter, their would have responded to where the shots were fired, six blocks away.

Officials said the final agreement should be finalized next week. Then Bakersfield City Council will vote on it next month. If it passed officers say ShotSpotter should be installed by mid-February. They say BPD received a grant of $450,000 which will help pay for the first two years of ShotSpotter. After that it will cost about $150,000 per year to use the technology.