Amid wide concerns over US police brutality, militarization and indiscriminate use of force against suspects, a new technology has emerged that will enable law enforcement to track down when a bullet was fired from a police gun.
The latest technological marvel developed and currently being tested by a Silicon Valley startup, Yardarm Technologies, is designed to keep track in real time and send a signal to the dispatchers when a gun is drawn from its holster and when it's fired. It can also track the trajectory of the shot as well as the location of the weapon.
“These events are transmitted in real-time to CAD or RTCC dashboards, allowing command to use this information to support officers in the field,” the company says.
The new technology is advertised and hailed as a life saver in situations when a police officer is in urgent need of backup but can’t call for it, a situation dubbed the “worst nightmare” by those involved in testing of the scientific breakthrough.
“That's the worst nightmare for any police officer in the field,” Santa Cruz County Sheriff Phil Wowak told AP.
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The technology relies on the Internet and requires an officer to carry a small device that the company says would fit in the handle of most police guns. A small sensor equivalent in weight to a bullet connects to the officer’s smartphone using Bluetooth.
“It’s the same kind of sensor your iPhone uses to change the screen from vertical to horizontal when you turn the phone to the side,” the firm's marketing vice president, Jim Schaff said. “But ours is way more powerful.”
“The officer simply inserts it into the back of the firearm, and now it’s installed. They don’t even know it’s there anymore,” Schaff said as he remains hopeful that the technology might be implemented nationwide next year.
What is also important is that the gun cannot actually be fired remotely using the technology as the device is in no way connected to the firing mechanism. It also means that the system lacks a remote disabling mechanism, so if the gun gets into the wrong hands, the rightful owner will be notified, but won’t be able to do anything to deactivate it.