Police tech under scrutiny following Chicago shooting

On March 29 at 2:36 a.m., police in Chicago were notified by a system called ShotSpotter that eight gun shots had been fired in the Little Village neighborhood.

Officers quickly arrived at the scene, and within five minutes of the initial alert one of them shot and killed 13-year-old Adam Toledo.

Critics of police tactics are hopeful that last week’s release of the body camera video will bring high-profile scrutiny of the technology that brought cops to Toledo, and of predictive policing more broadly.

“People are just now becoming aware of and paying attention to [ShotSpotter],” said Freddy Martinez, a policy analyst at Open the Government who studies police surveillance. “It’s kind of like a watershed moment.”

ShotSpotter is an acoustic gunshot detection system that uses a series of microphones and sensors. The sounds are fed through a verification process that involves both artificial intelligence and human review and takes less than 60 seconds, according to the manufacturer.

The company, which launched in 1996, works with police departments in more than 110 U.S. cities and a handful of police forces overseas.

Sam Klepper, vice president of marketing and product strategy at ShotSpotter, told The Hill that the technology is “designed to get police to a precise location very rapidly to aid victims, collect evidence and in some cases catch the perpetrator who is still at the crime scene.”