REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (March 10, 2016) -- Army technology recently found a role in civilian law enforcement. The Northern Colorado Serial Shooter Task Force, made up of various Colorado law enforcement agencies, and the Denver Field Division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, recently tested the Firefly system in support of the Crime Gun Intelligence Center initiative.
FireFly is a government-owned technology developed by the Army's Research Laboratory and the Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center. AMRDEC FireFly sensors were placed in an urban environment for the first time in conjunction with the CIGC initiative.
"FireFly acoustic/EO sensor was designed for shooter detection and geo-location to support small installations, independent of installation power," said Timothy Edwards, AMRDEC Chief Scientist-Force Protection Technologies. "CGIC utilized the FireFly acoustic gunshot locator system in conjunction with the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network in an effort to identify active shooters in urban settings."
Five FireFly ground systems and seven FireFly-lite systems were installed in various Colorado locations for a comprehensive systematic approach to provide rapid site exploitation of firearm ballistics. The FireFly sensors are lightweight, have 360 degree surveillance capability and have been under development for more than a decade.
"The uniqueness of FireFly is its capability of being rapidly deployed," said Tim Kelly, who oversees Denver's arson and explosives group and investigates gun violence in northern Colorado. "We used this tool to target serial gang shooters and identify where the shooting took place."
Originally deployed to Afghanistan as a tripod-mounted system to detect hostile small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades, the FireFly's sensors are sophisticated enough to group threats into small arms fire, heavy machine gun, or rockets artillery classifications.
"We hope to continue collaborating with AMRDEC and ARL to develop the next generation of FireFly that can be used in urban areas, is more concealable and will provide the ability to respond to ongoing threats in a community," said Kelly.