ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Fla. (WKRG) — The Florida state budget released this week includes $850,000 dollars for gunshot recognition technology in Escambia County.
ShotSpotter uses cameras and sensors to detect gunshots and immediately notify law enforcement.
“We just want to do everything we can to make sure that we provide the best service to the citizens of Escambia County,” said Escambia County Sheriff Chip Simmons.
If funding is approved by the governor, the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office and the Pensacola Police Department would partner up to use the new technology.
ShotSpotter would be included in the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office’s Real Time Crime Center. The Real Time Crime Center is an initiative that’s already underway, where surveillance video from community partners would be relayed right to the sheriff’s office.
“If we can have some of this technology, the ShotSpotter or the Real Time Crime Center information, we can go back and take a look if anything suspicious did take place,” said Simmons. “In the case of the ShotSpotter we’ll have instant access to some of the cameras right as a potential shot is fired.”
Community activists like Rodney Jones, President of Pensacola’s “Movement for Change”, hope the new system can help address gun violence.
“To bring one of those systems into communities that they have identified as more violent, or gun violent than other communities, I think that would be a win for that community because if it does nothing else it could deter individuals from using firearms in those particular communities,” said Jones.
ShotSpotter is already being used in other cities.
“It has become a situation now where we can look from a crisis perspective,” said Jones. “When you have gun violence in every corner of the city, and to such a degree, it’s something to be alarmed about. It has changed the landscape of the community.”
The Shot Spotter funding is pending on the governors signature on the budget that would start July 1.