I-Team 8

IMPD prepares to spend $9M to add gunshot-detection technology

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Leaders of the Indianapolis Police Metropolitan Department say they will be spending $9 million they received from the federal American Rescue Plan on new technology to help tackle the gun violence plaguing the city.

The technology could include adding gunshot-detection systems throughout Indianapolis.

““We’re going to have increased information about when gunshots are fired in our city, and have officers responding to that location more effectively,” said Officer Matthew Thomas, commander of IMPD’s criminal investigations division.

Thomas says the gunshot-detection system relies on sensors that detect the sound of gunfire. He says no gunshot detection systems are now in place in Indianapolis; instead, the officer says, they are in the pilot stages.

“We’ve identified an area on the east side of Indianapolis, that’s between 4 and 5 square miles, that has the highest density of shooting-related incidents as well as robberies.” 

He tells I-Team 8 that vendors can apply for the pilot program and, if selected, put their sensors in a specific area.

Thomas adds that the department will also add on to some existing technology. He says there are 250 public safety cameras in the city, and officials will double the amount, to 50, of license-plate readers as well.

I-Team 8 asked Thomas if there were concerns with some neighborhoods being overpoliced due to the new technology. He says he believes the technology with have the opposite effect.

“We listen and when listening what we hear is enthusiasm for bringing resources to communities that are seeing higher-than-average levels of violence,” Thomas said. “People are asking, you know, ‘When?’ ‘How many?’ ‘Why not here?’”

Thomas says IMPD has met with the community stakeholders from each of the police department’s six districts to allow people to ask questions, get answers and give feedback. He emphasized that the technology will be held to the same policing standards as anything else.

The American Rescue Plan provided $350 billion in emergency funding for U.S. state, local, territorial and Tribal governments to remedy the mismatches between rising costs and falling revenues as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. In Indianapolis, Mayor Joe Hogsett has said the federal plan provided $150 million for violence reduction programs in the city.