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Pittsfield Police Testing Gunfire Detection System Wednesday Night
Staff Reports,
04:12PM / Wednesday, March 29, 2017

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Police Department will be testing out the new ShotSpotter technology Wednesday night.
The department sent out a notification and calls to residents to inform them about the live gunfire test. The city is contracting with ShotSpotter to install gunshot detection systems, which will send notifications to police cruisers the moment the microphones pick up the sound of gunfire. 
"ShotSpotter uses a wide-area network of acoustic sensors to detect when a gun is fired and then precisely and quickly pinpoints the location of the gunfire. In less than a minute, officers and 911 dispatchers are notified of the fully qualified and validated gunfire incidents, even if no one calls 911 - although the community is always encouraged to report sounds of gunfire," Lt. Gary Traversa wrote in a release issued Wednesday afternoon.
"By quickly notifying police with the precise information, ShotSpotter helps speed police response, has the potential to save lives, increase weapons-related arrests, and the technology enhances the safety of our neighborhoods."
Before it can be deployed, the city needs to test it out. At 7 p.m. Wednesday night the department will be firing off shots at test locations to help calibrate the system.
"The Pittsfield Police Department will be conducting a live-fire gunshot event to test the ShotSpotter solution as they conduct a detection qualification and validation analysis before the system is live and operating in Pittsfield. The purpose of the DVQ is to test the sensor calibrations, quality of detection, and identify any additional calibration of the sensors needed. The ShotSpotter system is not considered live and operational until the successful completion of the DVQ event," Traversa wrote.
The will be no danger to the public, police said, because during the tests there will be officers on site at all locations, a bullet trap will be used to ensure public safety, and no bullets will be fired into the air. 
"The controlled tests will consist of a sequence of gunshot sounds followed by validation of quality detection by ShotSpotter. During the tests, a bullet trap will be used to ensure public safety. No bullets will be fired into the air and there is no danger to the public," Traversa wrote.
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