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DHS S&T Develops Portable Outdoor Gunshot Detection Technology for Law Enforcement

SDS Outdoor uses two factors—the sound and flash of the gunshot—to detect and validate each gunshot, drastically reducing false positives.

A new portable Gunshot Detection System can provide critical information about outdoor shooting incidents almost instantaneously to first responders. The system, called SDS Outdoor, was developed in collaboration between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) and Shooter Detection Systems (SDS) of Rowley, MA.

“Many U.S. gunshot detection technologies are not easily deployed in the field or at temporary locations,” said Dr. Dimitri Kusnezov, DHS Under Secretary for Science and Technology. “This new system can be moved by one or two officers without the need for technicians to transport and set up. This mobile capability will help responders approach gun violence incidents with greater awareness, reducing response times and increasing responder safety.”

The portable system is an enhancement to the current commercial, off-the-shelf Guardian Indoor Active Shooter Detection System. SDS Outdoor uses two factors—the sound and flash of the gunshot—to detect and validate each gunshot, drastically reducing false positives. Most other systems rely principally on sound, which can have higher false positive rates. Moreover, SDS Outdoor can be deployed for temporary events in locations where infrastructure support is not available, such as open-field concerts or pop-up rallies.

Delivery of this mobile system comes after almost two years of development. Prototype testing started in January 2022, and SDS provided a real-time demonstration to a user advisory group in May. It was then tested by S&T’s National Urban Security Technology Laboratory and the First Responder Technology Program team in an Operational Field Assessment at Fort Dix, New Jersey, in November. Feedback from participating law enforcement agencies who participated in the evaluations helped make the system more effective in detecting and alerting responders to gunshots.

“We’ve now transitioned the system to SDS to commercialize the technology and make it available to law enforcement agencies and first responders nationwide,” said Anthony Caracciolo, S&T First Responder Technology program manager. “The new system fills a gap identified by the First Responder Resource Group by extending gunshot detection capabilities to locations that do not support fixed deployments.”

SDS Outdoor also complements other S&T-developed detection and tracking technologies, such as MappedIn Response and Detection of Presence of Life through Walls, giving first responders a more holistic view of what they are dealing with so they can coordinate their responses accordingly.

Read more at DHS S&T

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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