‘Anything that we can do to protect our children’: Myrtle Beach police detail the gunfire detection program

Published: May. 17, 2023 at 9:50 PM EDT|Updated: May. 17, 2023 at 11:13 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The Myrtle Beach Police Department has been given the green light to install acoustic threat detection sensors as part of the School Violence Prevention program.

“This is just intended for the Myrtle Beach cluster with the grant we received,” said Myrtle Beach Police Captain Bryan Murphy.

The Myrtle Beach cluster includes Myrtle Beach Elementary, Middle, and High Schools. The police department received a grant of $198,000, which the city matched at 25% or around $66,000 according to Murphy.

“The great thing about this technology is that it’s improved throughout the years,” said Murphy.

The acoustic threat detection sensors are connected to a database, which can pick up gunfire in the immediate or adjacent area. It can then send an alert to law enforcement, with a location for officers to respond.

“Now it can tell us exactly when there is gunfire and it can tell the difference between gunfire and fireworks,” said Murphy.

On Monday, the Horry County School Board unanimously voted to approve a request made by Myrtle Beach Police Department to implement an Acoustic Threat Detection Program.

The program includes the installation of 19 sensors and cameras on the Horry County Schools Myrtle Beach campuses which would detect gunfire.

“Anything that we can do to protect our children,” said Debbie Edmonds, District 2.

During this school year--there have been a number of hoax or swatting threats made against schools in Myrtle Beach. The ATD program was highly recommended.

“We recommend approval, contingent upon Myrtle Beach Police Department getting all necessary permitting from the utilities from the service poles that they are going to use,” said Daryl Brown.

Similar devices are being used in other parts of South Carolina including Columbia.

The exact locations of the sensors have not been determined, but the district and police department say they will be exterior of the school buildings.

Stay with WMBF News for updates.