ShotSpotter accused of altering evidence at the request of law enforcement, says allegations are false
HOUSTON - FOX 26 looking into allegations about the new technology being used in cities like Houston to quickly identify where gunshots come from, is called ShotSpotter.
ShotSpotter has been around for 25 years but only in use in Houston and Harris County within the last few years. The service is aimed at detecting gunfire in real-time.
"When a gunshot happens in an area we hear it, detect it and locate it," said Ron Teachman with ShotSpotter Inc.
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ShotSpotter is now coming under fire, facing allegations they manually altered reports to fit request by police, an allegation, Teachman tells FOX 26, is untrue.
"Any such allegations about ShotSpotter has been involved in any fabrication or altering of any evidence for court is a lie," said Teachman. "It is absolutely untrue, what we do is examine the data and fact."
Chicago prosecutors have now withdrawn evidence from their system amid these allegations, and in New York, a judge has overturned a conviction citing its unreliability.
Teachman says it’s a piece of evidence that courts can choose to use or not.
"We don’t have an agenda, our job is to supply that evidence to the court system," said Teachman. "We may do a review but that doesn’t mean we are chaining it to suit a narrative."
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The company says there are two different analyses that happen in real-time and within a minute.
"There is a machine classification using sophisticated algorithms, but then we add a human element where a human will go through a series of steps," said Teachman.
In cases like homicides where their service is expected to be used as evidence, an additional step is taken to do a forensic analysis.
" What happens on occasion, usually when there has been a homicide or an officer-involved shooting, we are requested to do a deeper review called a forensic analysis," said Teachman.
As of now Houston and Harris County, Precinct two have pilot programs.
According to the Harris Co. Sheriff’s office, as of Thursday, these are the numbers:
Alerts Received 585
Guns Seized 15
Charges Filed 32