Microchip Alerts Dispatchers When Deputies Draw, Fire Gun in Real Time

The Santa Cruz Sheriff's Office is testing out new technology provided by a Capitola-based company.

Seconds matter for law enforcement. In a situation, seconds could be the difference between life and death. It’s those seconds the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office is concerned about.

Sheriff Phil Wowak is having his deputies test new technology from Capitola start-up Yardarm Technologies.

It’s a microchip that goes in the handle of a firearm. It’s light and fits in the standard frame of the weapon. That chip can alert dispatch and other deputies every time the gun in pulled out of the holster, or even fired, in real time. The exact time and location is sent to dispatch, so backup can be on the way in seconds.

"That little piece of electronics connects that gun to the cloud, and from there we can do a lot of things with it. We can alert officers nearby, we can alert the commander that one of his officers has used his firearm in the line of duty,” said Yardarm Technologies VP of Marketing Jim Schaff.

It’s technology Deputy Daniel Robbins could have used a few weeks ago. He was chasing a suspect into a backyard with his gun when he accidentally gave dispatch the wrong address.

"Very uncommon that my beat partner happened to be right around the corner from me, so he was able to see where I was running,” Robbins said.

Luckily, no one was hurt.

Sheriff Wowak said the situation proves their office needs this technology.

"We're really proud to be on the cutting edge of something that I think is going to be a safety tool for all law enforcement worldwide,” Wowak said.

Schaff said a price has not been set. After this initial testing phase, he plans to sell the technology in mid-2015.

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