The Bakersfield Police Department shed a little more light Thursday on the new ShotSpotter system the department expects to install early next year.

During the Safe Neighborhoods and Community Relations Committee meeting , Police Chief Lyle Martin and other staff discussed a more specific time frame for when the system would be implemented as well as a possible partnership with the Bakersfield City School District.

The ShotSpotter system, to be paid for through a $450,000 federal grant, features sensors that detect and record gunfire in a coverage area and alerts the police in less than a minute to the location of the gunfire. The department said that it will present information about the system and the grant to the Bakersfield City Council at its Jan. 10 meeting.

The goal is to finish installation of about 70 sensors by mid-February. The sensors will be placed within a three-square-mile area that runs north from Brundage Lane to California Avenue and east from Chester Avenue to Washington Street, with legs that continue north through the Baker Street neighborhood.

Department officials said the system would then be tested with practice fires. The goal is to have the system fully operational by the end of February or early March.

In addition, Martin said the department is looking to partner with the school district so that administrators in the coverage area will receive an alert too in case there is a need for a school shutdown.

Martin said the department is also in discussions with the district about sharing some of the expected ongoing costs for the system if the department intends to continue it beyond an initial two-year contract period. He said the system could cost up to $150,000 a year.


Kaiser Permanente gave the City of Bakersfield $500,000 on Wednesday to help fund development at the Sports Village complex, to be located on Taft Highway at Ashe and Gosford roads.

The Sports Village, which opened in 2010, currently has twelve soccer and four youth football fields, as well as a concession stand, restrooms and parking lot. The plan for the village is to add four more soccer and youth football fields, eight softball/baseball fields, a stadium field and more.

"We're making this investment in the sports facility to encourage active lifestyles and social interaction, which are two keys to health," said David Womack, senior vice president for Kaiser Permanente. "We're also doing this as part of our 30-year anniversary of providing care and coverage to Bakersfield and Kern County."


Wasco State Prison has been improperly storing some food and failing to make needed infrastructure improvements, according to the Kern County grand jury.

The jury visited the prison in November and conducted an investigation into the prison and noted several issues with the prison’s kitchens, noting that they found bread that was 22 days old and that racks of bread weren't elevated from the floor.

The jury also expressed concerns about infrastructure improvements to the prison that haven’t been made due to state budget problems, such as the replacement of the 27-year-old roof.

In a recent report, the grand jury recommended that the prison immediately address maintenance and safety issues and improve efforts to store food properly and better monitor expiration dates.

A written response is required within 90 days.


Students from Garces Memorial High School and Dignity Health's Department of Special Needs and Community Outreach are partnering to help 22 families in need this Christmas.

Twenty-two homerooms at the school have adopted a family and will be providing them with gifts, meals and other items they may need.

The school said families could come to the campus to pick up their items or have them delivered to their home.

For more information, call the school at 327-2578.


Highway 99 will be fully closed late Sunday night at the junction of Highway 46, according to Caltrans.

The highway will be closed from 11 p.m. Sunday to 5 a.m. Monday to replace some power lines. Traffic will be detoured to the Highway 46 on and off ramps.

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