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Gunshot Trackers Activated

A new gunshot tracking system installed in the city by the CMPD went live Monday. The department is hoping this technology helps it respond faster and more accurately to shootings.

The system is calledShotSpotter, and it uses small antennae, these acoustic sensors, that activate as soon as a gunshot is detected. The sensors then triangulate to give a precise location of the gunfire. The CMPD dispatch center is alerted anytime that happens.

Back in July, the City Council voted unanimously to spend the $50,000 required to operate the system for one year. In that time, the CMPD will test it.

The question of personal privacy was raised at that council meeting. CMPD Deputy Chief Harold Medlock assured the council that it cannot identify or record human conversations, only gunshots. He also says it is supposed to distinguish between gunshots and other similar noises like firecrackers.

CMPD says that the system has a coverage area of one mile and that the equipment is easily mobile. But it would not reveal any of the locations where ShotSpotter has been installed.

Tanner spent the first 10 years of his career in print as a travel and features writer for Southern Living magazine in Birmingham, Alabama.