LMPD planning to expand gunfire spotting technology in 2022

LMPD planning to expand gunfire spotting technology in 2022

  • Technology
  • May 23, 2022
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  • 10 minutes read


LMPD first launched ShotSpotter in 2017. Most of the shooting reports that agents respond to are only called by devices.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Every year in Louisville, thousands of shots or alleged shots are only called to the Louisville Police (LMPD) using the department’s ShotSpotter technology. Even when no one is injured, these features have a ripple effect.

This year, LMPD has funding to expand the program, and has rated it a success to date.

LMPD launched the technology in 2017 to recognize shooting suspects and shipping officers. To date, it has only been used in about six square miles of the city in the First, Second, Fourth, and Sixth divisions.

Also limited to this year: LMPD’s ability to charge charges unless someone is injured or directly endangered.

According to data obtained by WHAS11 from LMPD, from June 2017 to the end of that year, there were about 1,800 shooting incidents.

RELATED: Subway Police Search for Homicide-Related Suspect Near Downtown Louisville

In the same time period of 2020, ShotSpotter recorded more than 5,300.

According to the data, some of the incidents are classified as multiple shots in the near and near location.

According to LMPD, during the first four months of 2022, there were more than 1,370 ShotSpotter calls with an average official notification time of 41 seconds.

LMPD Mayor Emily McKinley said about 83% of calls are unrelated to other 911 calls.

“People assume that someone else will call or may be afraid of not being involved in the crime,” McKinley said.

In 2022, LMPD plans to use funds to expand ShotSpotter six more square miles, in areas identified by the company as prime locations.

“These are rounds of active shots that are sent to officers immediately in a matter of seconds and allow officers to have that immediate response,” McKinley said.

But there is a trap. Unless there is a victim, it is difficult to accuse an alleged shooter of endangering without any danger or any other crime.

“We would be more interested in making an arrest for endangering or having a stolen firearm,” McKinley said. “We should have the person at the scene with a gun and be able to connect with that crime to charge them with the ordinance, so that’s a big problem.”

RELATED: The coroner’s office identifies a woman stabbed in Brinkey Way

Until recently, firing a pistol recklessly in Louisville was not illegal, although Councilman Pat Mulvihill (D10) said the city had a firearms ordinance prior to the merger.

“We have very few options before the state edict,” he said.

Kentucky state law under KRS 65,870 restricts a city’s ability to regulate weapons, but Mulvihill said in 2021 the Metro Council drafted an ordinance to accommodate the project.

Approved in early 2022, making shooting 300 feet from a road or a potentially occupied building a lesser crime.

“I hope this is an educational tool. Hopefully, this ordinance will not be used and people will not be cited or arrested,” Mulvihill said.

For some families, the possible new charges, which Mulvihill says are the strictest the Metro can afford, are not enough.

“July 4th, which used to be a happy day with fireworks and sparks, didn’t want to participate because of the pow pow pow reminder,” Krista Gwynn said of her daughter.

At Gwynn’s house, only the sound of gunfire is being fired.

In 2019, they lost their son, Christian, due to armed violence. Then last year, his daughter Victoria was wounded in another shooting that killed another teenager.

“Think of the people who might have been affected a day ago, a month ago,” said Victoria’s father, Navada Gwynn.

The family is encouraged by the new steps in the city, but would prefer to see stricter sanctions for repeated violations.

“My daughter will be marked forever. But I feel like this is something Louisville is listening to,” Krista Gwynn said.

RELATED: LMPD investigates shooting at Metro government building in Limerick neighborhood

In the month since the shooting ordinance was approved, the City Council reports that there have been no citations for this.

“Keep adding more repercussions, and maybe Frankfort needs to step in,” Krista Gwynn said.

As for ShotSpotter, as early as 2022, calls from devices have brought police to at least 19 victims and 13 weapons recovered.

“It’s helping us address our crime needs,” McKinley said.

McKinley said he is optimistic that the expansion of technology, along with the ordinance, will help crack down on reckless firearms, investigate crimes and remove illegal weapons from the street.

“We’ve become more aware of the massive amount of shots out there that were never called to us,” he said. “ShotSpotter is just one thing, but combining all the tools and using them as one big piece helps provide more effectiveness.”

People who break the city ordinance could face a $ 500 fine or up to a year in prison. McKinley told WHAS11 that they will summon people with the ordinance only if higher crimes, such as the direct threat, do not apply.

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