University of Maryland to begin using gunshot detection technology on campus

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This week, the University of Maryland will start using new technology that will help police in the event of gun violence on campus.

The ShotSpotter system instantly detects gun shots and sends a map to dispatchers so they know where shots were fired. The university has already installed ten sensors around campus.

"The average active shooter, start to finish, is about 12 minutes, and on average, it takes, believe it or not, about two minutes to get a 911 call," said University of Maryland Police Chief David Mitchell. "This curbs that down to about 30 seconds. We can get noticed earlier, we can get on the scene faster, we can save more lives."

ShotSpotter is used in major U.S. cities, including Washington D.C. Mitchell said the technology not only reveals the gunfire location, but also the kind of gun used and the number of rounds fired.

He said the fast police response to the recent violence at Ohio State University likely saved lives. On Monday, a campus police officer was able to kill a man armed with a butcher knife just a minute after he launched an attack that injured nearly a dozen people.

"That's what we're looking for here because minutes in a case of an active shooter, minutes cost lives," Mitchell said.

FOX 5 talked to students who said they support the new technology.

"I think it's great," said sophomore student William Columbia. "I think the university should always be prepared, especially considering what happened at Ohio State recently. I think you always need to take precautions."

University of Maryland students have some idea of the panic that comes with a gunman on campus. Just last month, an alert went out about a man with a gun who turned out to be an ROTC member with a fake rifle.

"I was in the library at the time and that is usually, at a lot of schools, the target because there are a lot of students congregated there, so I got kind of scared," said Austin Gray, also a sophomore.

The university will do a free test of ShotSpotter for six months. Mitchell said it will cost about $10,000 a year after that.

"It could very well be that we won't ever have that technology activate, but when we need that technology, and we need it to activate in a timely way to get us on scene to save lives, it's going to be there," he said.