Pittsburgh Police To Test Gunshot Detection System With Live Gunfire

The controlled tests will consist of gunshots fired at close range into a bullet trap.

December 17, 2018 - 10:16 am

PITTSBURGH (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) - Pittsburgh Police will be conducting a live gunfire test of a gunshot detection system Tuesday evening in several neighborhoods.

The ShotSpotter gunshot detection technology was recently expanded to cover an 18 square mile area.

Police say the tests will happen at 7:30 p.m. in Bedford Dwellings, Beltzhoover, Hazelwood, Homewood, Marshall-Shadeland, Perry, West End and Upper Hill.

Authorities say there is no danger to the public and bullets will be fired at close range into a bullet trap. The tests are being conducted to ensure the detection service is working correctly.

Dan Shack, Manager of Public Safety Technology for the City of Pittsburgh tells the KDKA Radio Afternoon News, “There will be a sequence of gunshots at each location, no bullets flying into the air, no danger to the public.”

The ShotSpotter uses acoustic sensors to detect gunfire and pinpoint the location of the gunshot, notifying police in less than a minute.

“The system is not considered live and operational until we successfully complete this live fire testing,” said Shack, “Pittsburgh police will be on site at all the testing locations. 

“There are areas within the city that gunfire is so frequent and people don’t call 911,” Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich said. “With ShotSpotter we have that instant alert to the police officers. They show up. They find individuals who have been injured. They may render first aid right away until the medics arrive, and we have saved lives.”

“Sometimes you’ll get a call that there’s shots fired, but you don’t know where it’s at in that area,” Police Chief Scott Schubert said. “Now it’s more specific where it’s at, how many rounds are being fired and, tactically for the officer approaching the scene, it’s safer.”

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Related: Gun Control Bills To Be Introduced To Pittsburgh City Council Tuesday