INDIANAPOLIS — IMPD is looking for potential vendors for a gunshot detection system. A spokesperson said they have identified a roughly five square mile area where different vendors will test out their gunshot detection system technology to see how effective it is.

”We want to find out if this is something that is efficient, is it something that works, does it help our officers be more efficient, does it provide resources to make our community safer,” said Lt. Shane Foley, an IMPD spokesperson.

A gunshot detection system is technology that detects gunfire in real time and allows police to get to shots fired incidents faster.

Foley said the pilot program for the technology is important, because the system is expensive.

“The City-County Council, the mayor, and the community will ultimately have to decide, is the cost of this tool, if it’s proven to be effective, beneficial and is it worth the cost that it takes,” Foley said.

Foley said this technology will be tested out in a roughly five mile square area known for high gun violence.

“Historically its had a number of homicides, non-fatal shootings and robberies,” Foley said.

Foley said IMPD has been working with stakeholders in each district, talking to community leaders about the gunshot detection system.

”The community as a whole has been very supportive of the gunshot detection system and hopefully, as we get this system and we roll this out, it proves beneficial in identifying where these shots fired are taking place, who’s firing the shots and ultimately getting these individuals off the streets,” he said.

IMPD said it is not ready to say where the pilot area is going to be, but we found a public document outlining the area.

It is the Request for Information, or RFI, document for the gunshot detection systems on the city website. It’s for potential vendors who want to participate in the pilot program. It shows this area on the near east side as where vendors would install gunshot detection software for the pilot program.

Pilot area for gunshot detection system

IMPD data tells us this less than five square mile area had 10% of all fatal shootings in Indianapolis in 2021. With 24 fatal shootings out of 240 occurring in this area. In addition, 71 nonfatal shootings happened in this area in 2021. There were 765 nonfatal shootings in Indianapolis in 2021.

The area is boxed in by Massachusetts Ave. and E 21st St. to the North, Emerson Ave. to the East, East Washington St to the South and N Oriental St. to the West.

IMPD would not confirm if this area found in the documents is the chosen zone for the gunshot detection system pilot program. A spokesperson said it’s too early on in the process to identify it.

Eastside pastor and community leader, Rev. James Jackson of Fervent Prayer Church, said he’s looking forward to the technology coming to the city.

”I hope that it will make Indianapolis safer,” Jackson said.

He’s hopeful for what the gunshot detection technology could do, but he wants it used the right way.

”This is not just technology, this is people who are going to be surveilled,” Jackson said. “It is people who are going to be affected and impacted by this.”

In addition to the pilot gunshot detection system, IMPD will also be using license plate readers and public safety cameras in the pilot area. Foley said all these tools work together when shots are fired.

”These other tools combine to be able to look at what types of vehicles and what individuals might be in this area,” Foley said.

Going forward, Jackson is hoping the city is inclusive in this pilot process.

”I think it’s important for the community to give this a chance, for the community to work very, very close with the police department, very, very close with the present administration to make sure that this is the right path,” Jackson said.

IMPD would not give a timeline for the pilot program, saying it’s too early to release that information at this point. But, the RIF document on the city website said the pilot program will begin in March and last for three months.