Testing this week for new tool to help Cincinnati police pinpoint gunfire

Posted at 2:01 PM, Aug 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-06 14:33:42-04

CINCINNATI -- Cincinnati is getting a new tool police hope will help them track gunfire.

But first, they have to test it.

ShotSpotter uses a network of audio sensors to detect when a gun is fired and pinpoint where it happened within seconds -- perhaps before anyone can dial 911.

The police department has talked about it for years, dating back to when Jeffrey Blackwell was chief.

"This is clearly a cutting edge device that can really go after those repeat violent offenders that we're really targeting," Mayor John Cranley told WCPO last year.

Technicians now are working to set it up in District Four, in the central-eastern part of the city. To do that, they need to fire some rounds: Live gunfire helps calibrate the sensors and ensure the system is working.


The shots will be fired the week of Aug. 7 to 11 in the Avondale neighborhood. Police aren't sharing exact locations "for security reasons," but testing areas will be closed off and away from the public.

No bullets will be fired into the air, the police department said -- there will be a bullet trap to catch the rounds.

Cincinnati police ask anyone who hears gunfire to continue reporting it to 911, even if it might be part of a testing or training exercise. The city has a contract with ShotSpotter to monitor for gunfire over a 3-square-mile area in District Four, which had the most shootings from January 2014 to March 2016. The annual cost is $235,000.

People might also hear simulated gunfire this week near the Downtown riverfront, as filming begins for Bruce Willis' newest action movie "Reprisal."