OGDEN, UT (ABC4) — The Ogden Police Department is adopting a new tool that will help them track how its employees use their weapons.
Basically, a small device is attached to the Glock 17, making it a smart gun that tracks every shot fired. Soon, every police department in Utah could use the technology, called shotdotwhich was developed by an Australian defense company.
“ShotDot was created to develop technology that accurately and reliably counts firearm discharges while distinguishing them from other forces, such as weapon discharges, that may occur in the line of duty/actions,”
Ogden Police Chief Eric Young unwrapped a new ShotDot order on Wednesday, April 4, to show off the new technology his department is adopting.
“This is just another check on what exactly is going on, without bias,” Young said. “It’s a machine.”
ShotDot is small. It has the size and appearance of a USB drive. It is attached to the stock of each officer’s Glock as a permanent fixture. It can only be removed with a magnetic device that supervisors will have.
Young has already installed the device on his gun. At a quick glance you can’t even tell if the gun has a mod on it.
He says it is completely safe and will not interfere with the use of the gun.
“There are accelerometers and times. Clocks that are precisely calibrated so that when a shot is fired from the firearm, it will record that shot,” said Andrew Wood, retired colonel and chief operating officer of ShotDot.
The ShotDot is manufactured in Utah and each device costs just over $300. However, a grant from the state will reimburse the police for half of the costs. This is an initiative to improve policing.
“This is one of the first smart gun technologies to be implemented in the United States, and it’s able to allow the gun, for the first time, to talk,” 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.”
It will help the department track training, accidental firings and, most importantly, improve investigations surrounding officer-involved shootings.
“A lot of times it’s a long and tedious process to collect each of the officer’s firearms, count every piece of ammunition that’s in that firearm, take shell casings from the scene and interview the officers to you see what they remember 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. “It’s actually going to be a data dump … that will give researchers a quick idea 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 memory of it just isn’t accurate. So, this will give an accurate memory of what happened.
He said part of an officer’s job is to tell the truth. However, under the stress of potentially lethal interactions, employees may not be able to remember exactly everything that happened. Young said this new technology will help improve transparency.
Wood said ShotDot is already working with many different police agencies around the state that also want to adopt the tool. He also said that when it takes off in Utah, agencies in nearby states, such as Arizona and Colorado, may follow soon after.