OGDEN, Utah (ABC4) — The Ogden Police Department is adopting a new tool that will help them track how its officers use their guns.
Basically, a small device is attached to a Glock 17, making it a smart gun that tracks every shot fired. Soon, every police department in Utah could be using the technology called ShotDot, which is developed by an Australian defense company.
“ShotDot was formed to develop a technology that accurately and reliably counts shots from a firearm whilst differentiating them from other forces such as weapon drops which can occur in the line of duty/action,”
Ogden Police Chief Eric Young unboxed a new order of the ShotDot on Wednesday, April 4, to show the new piece of technology his department is adopting.
“This is just another verification of exactly what’s taking place that has no bias,” Young said. “It’s a machine.”
ShotDot is small. It bears the size and look of a USB drive. It is attached to the butt of every officer’s Glock as a permanent fixture. It can only be removed with a magnetic device that supervisors will have.
Young already has the device installed on his gun. At a quick glance, one can’t even tell if the gun has a modification on it.
He says it is completely safe and will not interfere with the gun’s use.
“There are accelerometers and times in there. Clocks that are precisely calibrated so that when a round is fired out of the firearm, it will record that round,” said Andrew Wood, a retired colonel and chief operating officer for ShotDot.
ShotDot is manufactured in Utah, and each device costs a little over $300. However, a grant from the state will reimburse the police department for half the cost. It’s AN initiative to help improve policing.
“It is one of the first smart-gun technologies to be deployed in the United States, and it is able to allow the gun, for the first time, to speak,” Wood said. “The gun will be able to tell when it was fired, how long it was fired, and the number of rounds that went through the barrel.”
This will help the department track training, accidental discharges and, most importantly, improve investigations surrounding officer-involved shootings.
“Many times, it’s a long tedious process to gather each of the officer’s firearms, count down each piece of ammunition that’s in that firearm, pick up shell casings from the scene and do interviews with the officers to see what they recall to try to piece together who fired their weapons, who fired first, who fired last, who fired second, and put that picture together,” Young said. “This is basically going to be a data dump… that’s going to give a quick picture to the investigators of what we’re looking at.”
“People often expect an officer to just turn around and say, ‘Yeah, I shot three times,’” he added. “Well, often that recollection of that is just not accurate. And so, this is going to give an accurate recollection of what happened.”
He said that part of the job of an officer is to tell the truth. However, under the stress of possibly deadly interactions, officers may not be able to accurately recall all that happened. Young said this new technology will help improve transparency.
Wood said ShotDot is already working with many different police agencies in the state that want to adopt the tool as well. He also said that as it takes off in Utah, agencies in nearby states, like Arizona and Colorado, may be following soon after.