Live Shots Fired At White House To Test New Tech


The U.S. Secret Service reportedly fired live rounds in the White House and vice president’s residence Saturday in order to test a gunshot detection system called ShotSpotter.

Due to the “live fire exercise” in which ammunition rounds are fired into a bullet trap, several roads near and around the White House were closed off.

The technology includes microphones and computers that can identify gunshots through an audio signature and subsequently notify local police, Ars Technica reports. It’s employed by 90 cities and roughly 10 universities, according to CEO Ralph Clark, and may ultimately be adopted by the federal law enforcement agency.

“The United States Secret Service has a no fail mission that requires the constant assessment of how we can effectively evaluate threats and mitigate vulnerabilities,” an official press release reads. “In an effort to enhance situational awareness capabilities around protected fixed sites in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Service will conduct a live fire calibration of a system that provides real time detection and geolocation of gunshots fired within proximity of protected sites.”

Police in Washington D.C. use the system, despite concerns by other departments that it is too pricey and isn’t necessarily effective in triggering a faster response. The San Antonio Police Department recently decided to nix ShotSpotter from its budget after only a little more than a year of full utilization.

Nevertheless, the Secret Service and White House are aiming to ramp up their security and are seemingly aligning themselves with the local police force in the city, concluding that “the use of this system is a valuable tool to our protective mission.”

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