Armed criminals, beware. The Broward Sheriff’s Office is embracing innovative and upgraded technology to put a stop to your violent ways.
BSO is partnering with ShotSpotter® to roll out the company’s gunshot surveillance system in BSO’s unincorporated Central Broward district. The sensor-based technology detects and locates outdoor gunfire in real-time and, once vetted by ShotSpotter employees, the alerts are shared with law enforcement. Oftentimes, the information is relayed within seconds.
Nationally, ShotSpotter estimates that roughly 80% of gunfire incidents are not reported to law enforcement. This technology changes that. It will allow deputies to rapidly respond to gunshots while providing crucial, real-time details about specific incidents, increasing deputies’ awareness and preparation. It will also increase deputies’ ability to make arrests, provide life-saving treatment to victims and recover critical evidence.
Another benefit is building community trust. Residents of communities plagued by gunfire will be able to see and speak to deputies who arrive quickly to handle these dangerous calls.
“The top priorities of the BSO ShotSpotter Initiative are to save lives, prevent violent crimes from occurring and arrest people committing crimes, specifically with firearms,” Sheriff Gregory Tony said. “This is an important step in our multi-layered, comprehensive approach to protect the communities we serve by reducing violence.”
A three-year program in unincorporated Central Broward, an area with a high volume of calls for service related to gunfire, will cost $205,000. On Thursday morning, the Broward County Board of County Commissioners approved the funding from the Law Enforcement Trust Fund (LETF). LETF money comes from the seizure and forfeiture of contraband that has been used in the commission of a felony.
BSO participated in a ShotSpotter pilot program in 2009-2010 but declined to pursue the program further. Since then, ShotSpotter technology has grown and advanced, cutting down on false positive reports of gunfire. ShotSpotter guarantees a 90% accuracy rate regarding actual gunfire and location.