ShotSpotter, the high-tech crime-fighting tool that helps police pinpoint where and when gunshots are fired, will be fully operational by year’s end in five Suffolk locations, Suffolk Police Chief of Department Robert Moore said Tuesday.
Moore said technicians from ShotSpotter will be in the county by the end of the week to test sensors and fine-tune the system in Wyandanch, North Amityville, Huntington Station, Brentwood and North Bellport.
“We’re very hopeful that it will be up in three weeks,” Moore said. “It’s a sophisticated system, and it’s a fairly new technology and business model being employed by ShotSpotter. This is the normal progression of developing new technology.”
Moore said one change from the original plan is that the county will not need to install ShotSpotter software in new computers that were to be placed in each precinct and other police buildings. Instead, sounds picked up by sensors will be sent to the ShotSpotter analysis center, analyzed there and transmitted back to police headquarters in Yaphank and to the relevant sector cars. The change, Moore said, moved back the projected operational date from the summer.
Given the wide area to be covered by the technology, Moore said, “It’s got to be right. I always say speed kills. If you want to guarantee mistakes, speed things up.”
Suffolk Legis. Jon Cooper (D-Lloyd Harbor), sponsor of the ShotSpotter bill, cited Sunday’s triple shooting in Huntington Station and said he is disappointed the system wasn’t up and running a week ago, but he’s thrilled it’s coming soon.
“I’m not saying it’s a magic bullet that once it’s in place, overnight we’ll have no problems,” Cooper said, “but as soon as it is operational and police can respond more quickly and begin arresting these guys and throwing them in jail, word is going to spread: If you fire a gun in Huntington Station you’re going to get arrested.”
Anthony Gazzola, chief investigator for Brookhaven Town, looks on as Jack Pontious, director of the Northeastern region for ShotSpotter, discusses how the system works during a meeting in Bellport. (Oct. 6, 2010)