The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the school district’s help to put the agency’s electronic crime-fighting ear to the ground in the Glades area.
The school board will vote Wednesday on a proposed agreement that would allow the sheriff’s office to place a technology it recently purchased called “ShotSpotter”, on broadcast towers used by the school district’s Educational Network cable channel in Belle Glade, according to a district staff report.
ShotSpotter, sold by a California-based company of the same name, is a system of acoustic sensors that can triangulate the approximate location of a gunshot within 30 seconds.
According to the district report, putting the 12-inch sensors on the school district’s telecommunications towers also allows the sheriff’s office to immediately share information about gunshots in a particular area with the school district. And this, district officials hope, could result in increased school security through faster lockdowns after an incident in the neighborhood around a school.
The agreement states that the sheriff’s office is responsible for all the costs of installing and maintaining the sensors, but does not specify the number of sensors or towers or any costs or locations.
Sheriff’s spokeswoman Teri Barbera declined to comment on the system, saying the sheriff’s office did not want would-be bad guys to have any details on the specifics of how the ShotSpotter will be used to fight crime in the Glades.
Barry Present, the district Real Estate Services Manager, also did not know how many towers would be used. He also did not know of any other school district property being used for ShotSpotter sensors.
The city of Riviera Beach used a $300,000 federal grant to buy a ShotSpotter system in 2010. City spokeswoman Rose Anne Brown said the city is still using it, but does not want to disclose the locations or number of sensors. No school property is used in Riveria Beach, she said.
The Broward County Sheriff’s Office used the same technology for a year but stopped in 2011 for budgetary reasons.