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Beloit police get new technology to locate gunfire events

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Steve Benton
January 22, 2009
— The "Shotspotter" technology was established originally to do a better job of detecting earthquakes. It morphed into a system for the military to detect and locate gunshots and now 34 cities in the United States use it. Beloit will become the 35th city to use it, and the only city in Wisconsin with the advanced technology.

Sales director for Shotspotter's midwest region, Brian Hayden, says the system uses a series of sensors that triangulates and pinpoints a location and computer software that helps determine gunshots.


Beloit police chief, Sam Lathrop says responding to "shots fired" calls has never been easy, and many times takes several minutes to locate a witness to an event. He says now response will be immediate. Two areas of the city will be covered by the system, when it is fully installed over the next two years.


For those concerned about the potential for a "Big Brother" scenario, Brian Hayden says the system wasn't developed for that. He says it only picks up "bangs" or gunshot type noises.


The cost of the project in Beloit is about $319,000, including a $170,000 federal grant obtained by Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin.


Beloit will be joining some big cities already using this technology including Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, St. Louis, New Orleans, Minneapolis, and Washington D.C.



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