I wrote a story in today’s newspaper about an electronic gunfire detection system that Bradenton Police Chief Michael Radzilowski wants to use to monitor the most dangerous parts of his city – about four square miles that’s responsible for 80 percent of the city’s violent crime.
Here’s an excerpt:
The “ShotSpotter Flex Gunfire Location, Alert and Analysis Service” consists of sound sensors mounted throughout a portion of the city, coupled with an off-site 24/7 monitoring service, whose technicians immediately notify police when their sensors detect gunfire.
The technicians send police officers a near-instant alert in their patrol cars, via their onboard computers. If the officers touch the icon on their computer screens, it plays an audio recording of the gunfire, so the officers know if they are dealing with a lone shooter firing random rounds or a raging gunfight.
The real-time data will allow police to find the crime faster, provide aid to the injured quicker, identify suspects and witnesses before the flee, recover vital evidence before it is lost and protect the crime scene.
Chief Radzilowski has spent more than 45 years behind a badge, 31 of which at
Washington D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department. While he’s not a hardcore ‘gun guy’ – a lot of police aren’t, especially the senior ones – he’s very conscious of the constitutional issues involved with such a system.
He does not see any potential Second Amendment issues with the ShotSpotter system.
I’m not sure I do either.
ShotSpotter only detects gunshots fired outdoors, and can distinguish between actual gunfire and fireworks.
The officers get an address where the shots were fired, but the data does not give police probable cause to search a home, absent the owner’s consent.
No legitimate gun owner is going to be firing into the air, the so-called “celebratory gunfire,” which is deadly.
About the only questionable scenario I can fathom would involve a gun owner firing at a backyard range. However, if the range is legitimate, the police contact would not likely result in any enforcement action.
I understand there are privacy concerns, and worries over the government’s increasing use of electronic surveillance. These are concerns that should be addressed. However, for now, let’s stick to Second Amendment issues.
If any of you see any Second Amendment infringements or assaults, please let me know in the comment section here or on my Facebook site.