St. Louis County to purchase shotspotter system to locate gunfire in the county

CLAYTON, MO (KPLR) - The St. Louis County Council approved grant money for the police departments first shotspotter system.

The St. Louis City police department already uses the system, but this is a first for the county.

A shotspotter is used to help notify police officers when shots are fired in a certain area.

The tool is placed at one location and can scan about three miles.

The shotspotter can triangulate for police officers where the sound of gun fire is coming from.

The county council approved a three-year, $400,000 grant for a shotspotter.

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said he is looking at putting one in the Chambers corridor near Halls Ferry.

He said this will change how police patrol the area and he wants the community to know they are looking at these types of tools to make the community safer.

"We feel like it has been used throughout the country in a positive manner and I think it puts us in a position where we are not only looking at crime reduction but I think it is a community engagement piece because it causes those officers to get in the neighborhoods and talk to people and talk about what their problems are and maybe investigate crimes in a manner that we don’t do right now," said Belmar.

After the three-year grant, there is an annual fee for the system.

Belmar said he hopes the county will continue to support the new tool and add more.

He said he is hoping to have the first shotspotter up in the county by the spring of 2017.