Global Leader in Gunshot Detection, Location Alerting & Analysis

Company Overview

ShotSpotter is the global leader in gunfire detection and location technology providing the most trusted, scalable and reliable gunfire alert and analysis available today.

ShotSpotter's deep domain experience, along with cumulative agency best practice experience, deliver measurable outcomes that help reduce gun violence. ShotSpotter possesses multiple patents resulting from nearly two decades of innovation in the area of acoustic location technology.

Founded 1996

Headquarters Newark, Calif., USA

Products ShotSpotter Flex, ShotSpotter SiteSecure, SecureCampus


Installations in
United States
and South Africa


square miles monitored in
the U.S. alone


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FAQ - Download the PDF here

1. What is ShotSpotter?

  • Police rely on the community to call 911 if gunshots are fired, but only an average of 20% of incidents are ever reported. This creates a situation where police departments have a large data gap that makes it difficult to be able to effectively “serve and protect” when it comes to gun violence. ShotSpotter fills the data gap with a network of acoustic sensors that can detect, locate and alert police to nearly all gunshot incidents. The system is in operation in more than 90 cities and is used by police to: 1) increase response rates to gunfire incidents; 2) improve response times to a crime scene to more quickly aid victims and identify witnesses; and 3) help police locate key evidence to identify and prosecute suspects.

2. How does ShotSpotter work?

  • ShotSpotter uses an array of acoustic sensors that are connected wirelessly to ShotSpotter’s centralized, cloud-based application to reliably detect and accurately triangulate (locate) gunshots. Each acoustic sensor captures the precise time and audio associated with impulsive sounds that may represent gunfire. This data is used to locate the incident and is then filtered by sophisticated machine algorithms to classify the event as a potential gunshot. Acoustic experts, who are located and staffed in ShotSpotter’s 24×7 Incident Review Center, ensure and confirm that the events are indeed gunfire. They can append the alert with other critical intelligence such as whether a full automatic weapon was fired or whether there are multiple shooters. This process takes less than 60 seconds and typically between 30 to 45 seconds from the time of the actual shooting to the digital alert popping onto a screen of a computer in the 911 Call Center or on a patrol officer’s smartphone or mobile laptop.

3. What types of cities use ShotSpotter?

  • ShotSpotter is used in more than 90 cities across the United States and is highly regarded by law enforcement as a critical component of gun violence prevention and reduction strategies. ShotSpotter protects a wide range of city types and sizes ranging from urban metropolitan cities such as Chicago and New York City; medium-sized cities such as Boston, Denver, and Oakland; and small cities with populations less than 50,000 such as Richmond, CA and Glendale, AZ. A list of all ShotSpotter cities can be found here.

4. How effective is ShotSpotter?

  • Gunshot detection by itself is not a panacea for gun violence, but if used as part of a comprehensive gun crime response strategy, it can contribute to a reduction. The vast majority of cities that have adopted ShotSpotter have done so as part of an overall strategy and have seen great value and experienced positive outcomes such as reduced gun violence, an increase in arrests, and an improvement in police-community relations. Please visit Results for more details.

5. Do citizens still need to call 9-1-1 if ShotSpotter is deployed in their city?

  • Yes, we always recommend citizens call 9-1-1 if they hear a gunshot as it may have come from an area not covered by ShotSpotter. However, studies have shown that only 1 in 5 gunfire incidents are called into 911, which is why ShotSpotter is so important to help law enforcement be aware of gunshots and be able to respond quickly and accurately.

6. Does ShotSpotter detect gunshots from gun silencers?

  • Yes it does. “Silencers” are more accurately called suppressors as they suppress the impulsive sound of gunfire, but do not wholly eliminate it. The ShotSpotter sensors are designed to pick up the sound of gunfire from suppressors, but it does make it more challenging.

7. Does ShotSpotter have video monitoring capability?

  • No. ShotSpotter is an acoustic-based system, but it is designed to integrate with widely used video monitoring systems. ShotSpotter can integrate by sending an alert to a video management system, which can then use the information to separately pan, tilt and zoom an IP addressable camera in the appropriate area or direction. By combining these technologies, ShotSpotter enables law enforcement agencies to benefit from the best in video monitoring technology, while also benefiting from the best in acoustic gunshot detection and location technology.

8. Does ShotSpotter listen in on private conversations?

  • No. Human voices do not trigger the sensors. The sensors detect only loud, impulsive sounds. Only when a short, explosive sound is detected – essentially a bang, boom or pop – does the system activate and permit a short snippet of audio to be sent for evaluation by a machine, and in some cases, a human, to determine if it is indeed a gunshot or another sound such as a firecracker or car backfire. Otherwise, the audio will be flushed from the sensor’s buffer and permanently deleted within 72 hours. The sensors do not have the ability to live stream audio. The technology provides only a few seconds of audio just before and after a gunshot. On rare occasions, if voices are concurrent with the gunshot, and are loud enough and close enough to a sensor, then they may be captured in the brief audio alert snippet.

9. Does ShotSpotter replace police officers?

  • No. Today’s police departments need both manpower and technology. ShotSpotter is a tool that augments and enhances the existing personnel to both improve police response time and quality of response. By pinpointing the precise location of gunshot incidents and tracking geographic patterns of gun violence, law enforcement resources can be deployed more effectively and more proactively.

10. How is ShotSpotter data being used in court?

  • District attorneys and federal prosecutors rely on ShotSpotter evidence to assist them in prosecuting gun crimes. ShotSpotter provides Detailed Forensic Reports as evidentiary documents which include precision positioning calculations of each gunshot, exact timing of shots, and map placements of firing locations for every shot fired. This evidence has received favorable rulings in Daubert and Frye challenges, and as a result has been used in trials at both the local and federal level. ShotSpotter provides expert witnesses to present the data at trial.

11. How much does ShotSpotter cost and what does it include?

  • ShotSpotter is an affordable, cloud-based service with an annual subscription fee that covers valuable services, as well as licenses and maintenance. The subscription fee varies based upon the scope and complexity of a customer’s targeted coverage area. There is a one-time fee for service initiation and customer onboarding. A ShotSpotter subscription includes:
    • Gunshot Alerts – delivered 24/7/365 to desktops, mobile phones or patrol car MDTs within 60 seconds of trigger pull. Alerts uniquely provide precise location of incident, number of rounds, audio of gunfire, and tactical intelligence such as “multiple shooters” or “automatic weapons”
    • Apps for Dispatch and Patrol Officers with Unlimited Number of Users – to receive and review alerts
    • Incident Review Center – Staffed 24/7/365 by trained acoustic experts who review and classify gunfire to minimize false positives or negatives and add tactical data
    • Investigator Portal – provides data analytics on incidents for investigatory purposes and to develop Hot Spots reports
    • ShotSpotter Forensic Services – Supports customer investigation efforts and strengthens court cases, including: Forensic Audio Search, Enhanced Incident Reports, Detailed Forensic Reports, Expert Testimony for court cases
    • ShotSpotter Integration Services – Enables customers to export ShotSpotter data to other law enforcement agency systems
    • End User Training, 24/7/365 Technical Support and Software Upgrades
    • Customer Success Program – a team of former law enforcement executives, analysts and trainers are available as part of the ongoing subscription to assist the agency in utilizing the full potential of the system, adopting best practices and annual Account Reviews

12. Does ShotSpotter have products for other applications beyond cities/police departments?

  • Yes. In the last few years, ShotSpotter has taken its market-leading technology and adapted it to help protect America’s campuses and universities with SecureCampus™ as well as corporations, government buildings, hospitals and highways with SiteSecure™.

13. Is ShotSpotter available outside the U.S.?

  • ShotSpotter is currently operating outside the U.S. in Cape Town, South Africa. The technology can be adapted to work in many international locations and the company has stated plans to expand into Latin America over the coming years.

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  • ShotSpotter rolls out in seven new U.S. cities, including Cincinnati, Jacksonville, Louisville, Newburgh, Pittsfield, Syracuse and St. Louis County. In New York City, Chicago and Birmingham expand ShotSpotter coverage area.
  • ShotSpotter closes its initial public offering (IPO) of common stock, at public offering price of $11.00 per share on June 12, 2017
  • The ShotSpotter 2016 National Gunfire Index, reports that the single busiest day for a city was 85 gunfire incidents on August 14.


  • Seven new cities including Miami-Dade County, San Diego and San Antonio select ShotSpotter technology.
  • Cape Town, South Africa − rated among the world’s most violent cities − selects ShotSpotter as a pivotal part of its crime prevention efforts to reduce gun violence and murders.
  • ShotSpotter launches new mobile app that delivers real-time gunfire alerts anytime, anywhere on any iOS or Android mobile phone, tablet or desktop.
  • The ShotSpotter 2015 Gunfire Index reports that New Haven, Atlantic City and San Francisco were among the top five cities with the largest reduction in gunfire incidents from 2014 to 2015.
  • GE Lighting and ShotSpotter announce MOU to bring gunshot detection to light fixtures
  • ShotSpotter announces partnership with International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA)


  • ShotSpotter Publishes 2014 National Gunfire Index that compares year-on-year data, showing that gunfire incidents are down by 28% in ShotSpotter cities.


  • ShotSpotter releases the National Gunfire Index; sheds light on the shocking but true nature and volume of illegal gun activity in America.
  • ShotSpotter Co-Founder Dr. Robert Showen is honored as Inventor of the Year by the Silicon Valley Intellectual Property Law Association
  • Worcester, MA has the distinction of being the 50th customer using the new ShotSpotter Flex service offering.
  • ShotSpotter coverage area in U.S. grows by 20% when Boston, Miami, Milwaukee, Wilmington (DE) and Puerto Rico sign on for ShotSpotter Flex.
  • ShotSpotter opens East Coast data center.


  • ShotSpotter launches the first-ever U.S. National Gunfire Index, the most detailed and comprehensive record available of illegal gunfire activity in cities across the U.S. during Q2 and Q3, 2013.
  • ShotSpotter announces ShotSpotter Briefing Room™, the industry’s first end-to-end gunfire crime analysis platform to combine the proven accuracy of ShotSpotter gunfire data with sophisticated crime analytics, data visualization, and geospatial summaries suitable for COMPSTAT-style reporting.
  • ShotSpotter granted its 32nd US Patent by the US Patent and Trademark Office.


  • ShotSpotter Flex gains rapid adoption by law enforcement agencies – large to small – nationwide as a critical component of comprehensive gun violence reduction initiatives.
  • ShotSpotter granted its 26th US Patent by the US Patent and Trademark Office.
  • ShotSpotter relocates its corporate headquarters to Newark, California.


  • ShotSpotter started operating under the dba name SST, Inc. in 2011
  • ShotSpotter launches ShotSpotter Flex, an affordable annual subscription service that is hosted, cloud-based solution. US Patent and Trademark Office issues ShotSpotter it’s 25th US Patent.


  • Ralph A. Clark named CEO.
  • International business grows. Systems sold in Brazil and the United Kingdom.


  • Listed as part of the AlwaysOn Global 250, a list of the hottest privately owned companies in technology.
  • Presented Frost & Sullivan North America Product Innovation Award.


  • Business grows in Midwest and Northeast United States. Systems deployed include Boston, Mass., and Bellwood, Ill.


  • ShotSpotter GLS deployed in the U.S. Capitol, Washington D.C. (Still operational today).


  • First VC funding obtained from Lauder Partners LLC.


  • USPTO issues third ShotSpotter patent (#5,973,998).


  • First pilot system deployment in Redwood City, Calif. (Still operational today).
  • USPTO issues second ShotSpotter patent (#5,703,835).


  • USPTO issues first ShotSpotter patent (#5,504,717).
  • ShotSpotter conceived of by Dr. Robert Showen.

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Dr. Robert Calhoun

Dr. Robert Calhoun

Dr. Robert CalhounDr. Robert Calhoun is a founder, principal engineer and software scientist at ShotSpotter, Inc.  He has programmed in C, Visual Basic, and LabVIEW.  He has written versions of the ShotSpotter detector and map displays, and designed sensitive detection, classification, and filtering routines to give the ShotSpotter its most impressive performance to date. 

Rob has earned his undergraduate degree, his masters, and his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from MIT.

LinkedIn profile

Dr. Robert L. Showen

Dr. Robert L. Showen
Ph.D, Founder & Chief Scientist

Dr. Robert L. ShowenDr. Showen is ShotSpotter's founder and patent holder on the technology. With over three decades of acoustic and geophysics research experience, it was Dr. Showen’s initial vision of helping police curb gunfire and urban crime that caused him first to conceive of ShotSpotter.

Engineer, scientist, and teacher, Dr. Robert L. Showen attended San Jose State University, University of California at Berkeley, and Rice University. He obtained degrees in electrical engineering and space physics and won a fellowship to the Max Planck Institute. He has taught astronomy and physics at the University of Puerto Rico, performed experiments to heat the ionosphere at the world’s largest RADAR, participated in the development of over-the-horizon RADAR at SRI International, and studied the effects of lightning on the ionosphere.

LinkedIn Profile

Jason Dunham

Jason Dunham

Jason Dunham is an engineer, a software specialist and a co-founder of SST/ShotSpotter.  Jason’s specialty work is in vibration analysis as applied to components of nuclear plants. He has programmed in C, Pascal, FORTRAN, FORTH, Mathematica, and LabVIEW. He is the owner and founder of San Francisco Industrial Software Inc. which has an extensive local and statewide clientele. He has written a majority of the software used in the Trilon Technology gunshot location system, and is a co-inventor with Dr. Showen on patent applications for ShotSpotter technology.

Jason earned his BS, Mechanical Engineering from MIT and his MS in Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University. 
LinkedIn profile


Ralph A. Clark

Ralph A. Clark

Chief Executive Officer

A veteran of numerous successful technology start-ups, Ralph A. Clark brings 30 years of extensive corporate, financial and organizational leadership to his position as ShotSpotter's President and Chief Executive Officer. Most recently, Clark was CEO of GuardianEdge Technologies Inc., where he led the transformation of the company into a leader in endpoint data protection and was instrumental in its recent acquisition by Symantec.

Prior to GuardianEdge, Clark served as vice president of finance for Adaptec through its acquisition of Snap Appliance, which he helped engineer. He was responsible for worldwide financial planning and analysis of Snap Appliance, serving as its chief financial office. Previous to his role at Snap Appliance, he worked at several venture capital backed start-up companies, leading several to successful acquisitions. Early in his career, Clark held executive sales and marketing roles at IBM; post business school he was an investment banker at Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch, where he was instrumental in many successful technology transactions.

He is a member of the board of directors for PrintRoom and Tactical Survey Group, and also serves as a trustee at the Oakland Museum of California. Clark holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of the Pacific, and a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard Business School.

LinkedIn Profile

William J. Bratton

William J. Bratton

Mr. Bratton is currently Senior Managing Director of Teneo Holdings, a global CEO advisory firm, and Executive Chairman of its Teneo Risk division. Mr. Bratton also serves as the Vice Chairman for the Secretary of Homeland Security's Advisory Council.& Mr. Bratton has over 40 years of experience in law enforcement, including as Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department and Commissioner of the New York City and Boston Police Departments. Mr. Bratton previously served as a member of ShotSpotter's Board of Directors, from April 2013 until December 2013, when he resigned in order to serve his second appointment as Commissioner of the New York City Police Department.

Tom Groos

Tom Groos

Tom is a partner at City Light Capital. He is a member of the Boards of ShotSpotter Technology (Newark, CA) and Heartland Steel Products (Marysville, MI). After 26 years of growing and leading two Michigan companies in the safety and security area, Tom is now the Chairman of the Board of Minimax-Viking, a major fire protection systems company based in Hamburg, Germany. He also is the principal of his family office, Tyden Ventures, and is dedicated to spreading the concept of impact investing among private investors.

Service activities include the Deming Center for Productivity at Columbia Business School, the Cornell University Council, and cofounder of The ImPact Society, a non-profit dedicated to promotion of impact investing among private investors. He was a board member of the National Fire Protection Association and has served in various leadership positions in Michigan, including the Salvation Army of West Michigan, public K-12 school boards, and the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy.

He is married to his wife of 32 years, Lisa, and they have two children in their twenties. Tom grew up in Hastings, MI and is a graduate of Cornell University and Columbia Business School.

Randy Hawks

Randy Hawks

Randy focuses on security solutions for both the digital and physical domains at Claremont Creek Ventures (CCV). His years as Executive Vice President/COO and Director at Identix are the foundation of his interest in this area of investment. Randy’s strong background in IT includes serving as CEO and Director of Captiva Software, various senior management positions at Texas Instruments, ITT Information Systems and Sr. VP at AT&T Paradyne. He has also held directorships at Clairvoyant Software, Hipbone Software, Inapac, Invivodata, Flytecomm, View Central and Be Here. Currently Randy holds a board seat at three of CCV's portfolio companies.

Randy earned a BSEE from University of Arkansas and has completed the Stanford University Executive Management Program. He serves as the Venture Committee Chair for Keiretsu Forum.

Pascal Levensohn

Pascal Levensohn

Pascal is the founder and Managing Partner of Levensohn Venture Partners (LVP) and the CEO of Generation Strategic Advisors LLC (GSA); he has held both positions since 1996. Pascal joined Dolby Family Ventures, L.P. as a Managing Director in 2014 after advising the Dolby family on its direct technology investment portfolio since 2012. Pascal has transitioned his new technology venture capital investing activities to the Dolby family organization.

Pascal was elected to the board of the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) from April 2007-April 2011, during which he chaired the NVCA’s education committee for three years; he is a faculty member of the Kauffman Fellows Program Center for Venture Education (2006-present) where he teaches best practices for VC-backed company board members.

Pascal holds an AB in Government, cum laude, from Harvard University. He is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a former co-chairman of the Socrates Society Forum of the Aspen Institute (2007-2009), and a former Chairman of the San Francisco Jewish Community Federation’s Business Leadership Council (2007-2008).

Marc H. Morial

Marc H. Morial

Marc has more than 25 years (of) experience as an entrepreneur, lawyer, professor, legislator, Mayor, President of the US Conference of Mayors, and now CEO of the National Urban League, the nation’s largest civil rights organization. Among his many accolades, Morial was widely credited with the 1990s renaissance of New Orleans. While Mayor of New Orleans, he had strong success attacking the city’s vast urban problems, including dropping violent crimes and murders by 60%. He left the office with a 70% approval rating.

Morial has a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania and earned a Juris Doctor degree in from Georgetown University. A history, arts, music and sports enthusiast, Morial has an adult daughter, and is married to CBS broadcast journalist Michelle Miller. Together they have two children.

Investor Relations

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GE Lighting and ShotSpotter just signed a memorandum of understanding to bring gunshot detection to light fixtures as an option in GE's suite of intelligent LED technology for cities.

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ShotSpotter is an official IACLEA Corporate Partner. IACLEA is the leading authority for campus public safety. Members enjoy the knowledge and camaraderie of a global network of campus public safety experts.

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ShotSpotter and Verizon partner to expand gunshot detection through city street lights

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VidSys. Combining ShotSpotter’s Gunshot Location Technology with VidSys’ PSIM Software Enables Faster Response, real time situation management, to better protect and save lives.

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Verizon Providers of wireless network that supports acoustic sensors in ShotSpotter-deployed communities, over which data is sent back to SST’s Real Time Incident Review Center (IRC).

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TSG Solutions infrastructure security and technology solutions including Risk Management & Security Consulting; Public Safety & Security Solutions; Cyber Security Engineering, Cloud Computing & IT Technical Services.

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Tiburon delivers computer aided dispatch, mobility, records management and corrections management solutions built to meet the demands of state, local and federal law enforcement, fire & rescue and corrections agencies.

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The Omega Group analysis-driven decision support & electronic briefing services for public safety agencies.

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Pelican Technologies. HawkEye is a direct and readily deployable interface between the ShotSpotter GLS and leading Video Management Systems (VMS), directing the movement of cameras onto events to provide real-time situational awareness for first-responders.

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Motorola Solutions public safety systems — a wide variety of communications solutions for first responders and other civil safety officials.

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ShotSpotter, Inc. is an official IACLEA Corporate Partner. IACLEA is the leading authority for campus public safety. Members enjoy the knowledge and camaraderie of a global network of campus public safety experts.

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Gener8 Design and manufacturing company providing turnkey product design and manufacturing services for circuit boards, instruments and optical subsystems.

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GE Lighting and ShotSpotter just signed a memorandum of understanding to bring gunshot detection to light fixtures as an option in GE’s suite of intelligent LED technology for cities..

The acoustic sensors and software would give street lamps the ability to detect gunfire in real time, connect to 911, alert police patrol cars, and ping smartphones with the precise location of the shooting incident, the number of shooters and rounds fired and other valuable intelligence.

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Forensic Logic largest database of local law enforcement data in the country; robust and intuitive crime search & analysis tools.

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ESRI designs and develops the world’s leading geographic information system (GIS) technology. GIS is an important tool—one that helps shape the world around us.

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DVTEL develop open, scalable, end-to-end video systems and analytics solutions – from the camera to the control room.

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Data911 a leader in mobile computing for Public Safety. Their vehicle area network consists of in-car mobile computer systems, cameras with live-streaming video, license plate recognition, and a cloud-hosted vehicle location service with navigation

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Beyond Wireless. Monitoring remote and mobile assets that are vulnerable to abuse and in need of constant oversight. Our clients are UNICEF, WHO, The Red Cross, and many others. We work across many verticals from healthcare to copper theft detection and electricity distribution network management in the utility sector.

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BAIR (Behavioral Analysis & Intelligence Resource Specialists) Analytical Services’ subject matter experts deliver direct analytic support to BAIR customers through the use of contractor analysts, specific project consultants, and online tool capabilities.

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AvrioRMS Group design, engineer and deploy turnkey wireless security solutions that protect physical assets, enable better communication regardless of geographical location, and leverage technology for government and private organizations.

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AT&T machine-to machine (M2M) communications — a set of networking and IT technologies which connects the physical systems of the world such as power meters, trucks, containers, cars, pipelines, wind farm turbines, vending machines and any electronic device which would benefit from 2-way communications.

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You can make the world a safer place. We do every day.
ShotSpotter employees develop bright ideas. We are innovators, problem solvers, and creative thinkers who believe that good people and good technology can pave the way to a brighter future for all. We’re passionate about the work we do to help public safety and security.

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