DeLand gun shot detection system helps solve murder

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — Volusia County’s experiment with a gun shot detection system is being declared an early success by authorities, who say it’s helped them track down five shots fired calls and a homicide suspect.


The sheriff’s office planted several hundred of the pole-mounted Flock Safety Raven detectors in DeLand’s Spring Hill community a few months ago. The area is considered a hot spot for shootings.

The detectors, once trained on the differences between gun shots and fireworks, notify deputies in real time and triangulate the shots to within a few feet.

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“We’re very, very optimistic about where this technology is going is going to lead us,” Sheriff Mike Chitwood said, adding that it’s an upgrade over phone calls that are either delayed or never made and vague directional descriptions of where shots were heard.

Chitwood credited the system with assisting in the arrest of Travis McBride in January. He said the system helped deputies backtrack while doing their investigation, and pinpoint a location where they found the victim stuffed in the trunk of McBride’s car.

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There are two downfalls to the system: the lack of portability and the cost. The department is paying $35,000 per square mile. The sensors are currently installed in a two square-mile zone.

Chitwood said they’d do an evaluation at the end of a year to decide if the system was worth the cost, and if so, if it should be expanded.

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