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Pleasantville police hope gunshot detection system will help fight crime

February 14, 2017

PLEASANTVILLE — The city’s police chief hopes the same technology Atlantic City uses to detect the location of gunshots could help his officers fight crime.

Chief Sean Riggin reapplied last week for a $400,000 federal grant to buy a Shot-Spotter gunshot audio-detec-tion system, after being denied the grant last year.

He believes the department took the right steps this year to make the application more attractive, assigning a city detective to the State Police Regional Operations Intelligence Center to assist with intelligence across multiple agencies for violent crimes.

Last year, Pleasantville had 31 reported shootings and two shooting homicides, Riggin said.

The request for ShotSpotter comes after a violent year of shootings in which several innocent bystanders were struck by bullets or nearly struck, including a grandmother who was shot in the foot when a bullet penetrated her Franklin Boulevard home. She was holding her 8-month-old grandson at the time.

Conflict between police and certain segments of the community has been one of the most visib…

ShotSpotter is able to send a Google map of exactly where the gunfire was heard directly to police in their cars. ShotSpotter can tell how many shots were fired, the number of shooters and where they are moving, Riggin said.

Atlantic City has ShotSpotter, which has helped police in the resort respond to shootings faster, said Sgt. Kevin Fair, the Atlantic City Police Department’s public affairs officer.

“I have an application on my phone. I get the notification immediately,” Fair said.

The city always looks to ShotSpotter for data after a shooting, he said.

“It has been an asset to our department and the city,” Fair said.

If Pleasantville receives the $400,000 grant, it would pay for the installation, the first year of operation and part of the second-year operation of ShotSpotter, Riggin said.

Pleasantville’s application includes letters of support from the FBI, the Coalition For Safer Communities, Atlantic County’s Department of Public Safety and the county Prosecutor’s Office, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo and the Atlantic City Police Department, Riggin said.

Only six ShotSpotter grants were given out last year nationwide, Riggin said.

Press of Atlantic City: Pleasantville