Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Who ya gonna call? ShotSpotters!!!

According to the Alexandria police, Parker-Gray experienced a rare case of mass hysteria over the weekend when neighbors heard gunshots near Queen and Fayette in the wee hours and hit the floor of their bedrooms en masse.

Not to worry, according to Mayor William Euille, who sent the following billet-doux to Patricia Schubert of the ICCA:

What I have learned from the police is that there was a fight at the Elks' Home as people were leaving an event, and while the police were present, apparently some heard gunshots, however, there were no shots fired at this incident, nor were there any reports to the police department regarding shots anywhere in the area that night.

Hopefully, what sounded like shots were actually not the case.

Always,

Bill

The Growler doesn't live at Queen and Fayette and must confess to not hearing the gunfire. However, the Cranky One also slept through several three-alarm fires on N. Payne Street in the 1980s. Being a sound sleeper is practically a requirement to live in this neighborhood that never sleeps.

But as a public service to all of the rattled residents, the Growler would like to step in and recommend a hot new product to Mayor Euille:

ShotSpotter

Yes, a Santa Clara, Calif. company actually makes equipment that helps police sort out real gunfire from the phony imitation stuff. It's currently the rage in big city law enforcement, attracting new or potential customers like Boston, Minneapolis and even Washington, D.C.

From the company's Web site:

Why Choose ShotSpotter?

ShotSpotter’s technology allows police departments to respond more effectively to citizen’s concerns about gunfire in their communities.

Police, sheriffs, the FBI and other law enforcement organizations nationwide have been using ShotSpotter Gunshot Location Systems for nearly a decade. Our systems were instrumental in the identification and later arrest of the Columbus, Ohio-area highway sniper in late 2003 and early 2004, and have been responsible for decreases in gunfire ranging from 60% to 90% in areas in which systems have been deployed...

The ShotSpotter Gunshot Location System uses the principle of acoustic triangulation to locate gunfire across wide areas. Because of its patented spatial filter technology, ShotSpotter systems are not fooled by noises which sound like gunfire but are misleading (like car backfires, firecrackers, etc.) [emphasis added].

The price tag is steep ($350,000+) but when you have to tell Alexandrians rich and poor, black and white, young and old that they didn't hear gunfire when they know damn well what gunfire sounds like you may need to back it up with something. So why not a cool techno-toy?

So Mayor Euille, put a ShotSpotter under Chief Samarra's Christmas tree this year and seal it with love. You won't regret it.