PLEASANTVILLE — A gunfire detection system poised to improve police response to area shootings will be ready to launch by the end of February, according to the company.
Representatives from ShotSpotter, along with the Pleasantville Police Department, hosted a presentation Thursday afternoon at the New Hope Community Center to update officers, city officials and other stakeholders on the progress the city has made installing the system.
The service is anticipated to go live Feb. 27.
ShotSpotter Project Manager Graham Campbell said as of 1:30 p.m. Thursday, 20 percent of the planned gunfire-detection sensors have been installed throughout the city.
More than 70 sensors will be installed on homes and businesses in the city. Campbell added officers have helped reach out to residents who are willing to have the small boxes installed on their homes.
ShotSpotter Director Jason Smith said Pleasantville was the first community to have residents approve and fund the system through a ballot question.
After many attempts to find funding through grants and programs, City Council put the matter before voters in November. More than 70 percent of voting residents approved the gunfire detection system, which meant an increase of about 2.5 cents on the municipal tax rate.
According to the Atlantic County Clerk’s Office, Pleasantville will pay $195,000 per year for the next three years to purchase ShotSpotter.
“We’ve made substantial progress,” police Chief Sean Riggin said. “Boots are finally on the ground with installations. We have the target dates, and we are getting closer toward preventing and solving violent crimes.”
ShotSpotter sensors will cover three square miles of Pleasantville, focusing on residential areas police have deemed to have high rates of gunfire activity using data “heat maps.”
“There will be no change to patrolling officers,” said Capt. Matthew Hartman. “ShotSpotter is just an added tool we can use for investigations.”
Audio sensors will capture the precise time, location and snippets of the gunfire sound, which is analyzed by experts at ShotSpotter’s Incident Review Center, which will alert local law enforcement about the situation.
Prior to the full implementation of ShotSpotter, more sensors will be installed, as well as best-practices training and a live gunfire test.