INDIANAPOLIS — Starting this week IMPD officers are actively responding to shots fired calls using gunshot detection technology in parts of the city.

IMPD says officers sitting in their squad cars won’t have to wait for a 911 call about shots fired, but will get notifications directly to their laptop.

The city now plans to spend the rest of the year figuring out if that technology will actually improve public safety.

“We will evaluate this technology to see if it improves officer response time and if it helps officers provide medical treatment to victims more quickly,” said IMPD commander Matt Thomas.

Commander Matt Thomas explains that for the next nine weeks three different vendors will be evaluated for three weeks apiece.

The first three weeks will be dedicated to the Flock detection vendor. Week four through six will be dedicated to the ShotSpotter notification and the last three weeks will be focused on J&M Security notifications. 

“At this point we aren’t certain what the results will be, but it’s our goal to figure out what works and what doesn’t work,” said Thomas.

The pilot program is being tested over five square miles around 10th and Rural.  

That location was selected because of the high density of robberies as well as homicides and non-fatal shootings last year.

Robbery density map of 2021

“This technology is not going to be a golden key that solves the issue. Community engagement will continue to be a critical role,” said city-county councilman Zach Adamson.

Community leaders and police agree the technology does not replace the need for residents to call 911 if they hear gunshots.

“As a community we know public safety is a shared responsibility between officers and IMPD as well as the community,” said James Taylor with the John Bonor Neighborhood Centers.

Although the city has already spent millions of dollars on public safety cameras and license plate readers, the mayor made no promises the gunshot detection system will be implemented beyond the next 9 weeks.

“If gunshot detection proves useful and cost effective in the long run it will join the broader effort to make our city safer,” said mayor Joe Hogsett.

Starting in December the city will analyze the results of the program. The city will work with IUPUI to study whether the system should be implemented on a permanent basis.