The company that makes a crime-fighting tool used by D.C. police has opened an office in the city that will become its East Coast satellite location.
ShotSpotter operations serve law enforcement across the U.S., Caribbean and South Africa.
ShotSpotter uses sensors and technology to monitor the sound of gunfire. It can detect, locate and alert police about gunfire within 30 to 45 seconds of triggers being pulled with accuracy within 85 feet.
“We have a pretty robust deployment of ShotSpotter here in our nation’s capital,” D.C. police Chief Robert Contee said.
During Wednesday’s news conference on what Mayor Muriel Bowser touted as a boon for the city’s economic development, a loud popping tone interrupted the police chief. He used that as an opportunity to explain how the system works.
“As an example, if there is an incident in the city right now — where we have a ShotSpotter incident, I would get a tone similar to that, but on my cellphone,” Contee said.
Members of the community don’t always hear or report gunfire that might be of interest to police.
“We still need to respond because there could be someone in need of assistance in a wooded area, and with the ShotSpotter coverage that we have, we feel pretty confident about that,” Contee said.
Since D.C. police first deployed ShotSpotter in 2006, periodic assessments have been done of the coverage areas.
“Where are shots coming from, where are our shootings, where are our ADW [assault with a deadly weapon] guns?” Contee said. “As years have gone on, we’ve had to make adjustments; we’ve had to expand, and we’ve done so. ”
The last ShotSpotter expansion in the city was in fall 2018 through spring 2019.
Bowser said the company opening operations at 25 Massachusetts Ave. in Northwest exemplifies a city job creation strategy.
Bowser said as a technology center, D.C. is ready to lure and welcome West Coast companies to East Coast locations.
“We are a fast-growing tech center. Tech companies like D.C. for the same reasons other people do. Great culture and restaurants, fantastic transportation, parks, access to the entire East Coast but also our brilliant workforce.” Bowser said.