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Police: Fireworks Will Not Impair Effectiveness of Gunshot Detection System

Published on Tuesday, June 28, 2022 | 9:43 am

According to the Pasadena Police Department, the ShotSpotter gunshot detection system will be operational during the Fourth of July weekend and will remain effective despite the number of fireworks that are set off during the holiday.

“Unfortunately, with the number of fireworks that are set off during the holiday, the ShotSpotter system is inundated with explosive sounds. However, with the robust review and filtering systems, I am confident there will not be a negative impact to the gunshot detection and alert system for the City,” said PPD Acting Commander Bill Grisafe.

The ShotSpotter gunshot detection system is designed to help law enforcement officials identify, locate and deter gun violence. The real-time alerts notify police precisely when and where gun incidents are occuring, resulting in faster, more accurate responses to the scene to provide medical attention to gunshot victims, recover evidence and interview witnesses.

When a gunshot occurs, the system’s sensors work instantly to triangulate the sound and pinpoint the location of the gunfire. Trained ShotSpotter acoustic experts are on duty 24/7 to review and qualify all gunfire incidents. If the acoustic expert determines the sound to be actual gunfire, a detailed alert is sent to the local law enforcement agency. The review and alert occur within a minute or less of the actual gunfire event.

The system went live locally in February.

At the previous Public Safety Committee meeting, Councilmember Tyron Hampton inquired about using ShotSpotter to detect the location of fireworks.

Grisafe explained that while ShotSpotter can detect fireworks, it will not alert police when it detects one unlike what it does when it detects gunfire.

“The gunshot detection system’s sensors are designed to pick up loud, explosive sounds, filter out the non-gunshot sounds and alert Pasadena PD officers to the location of only gunfire. The sensors can pick up many other loud, impulsive sounds but rarely is the PD alerted because the review system eliminates them as gunshots,” Grisafe said.

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