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East Palo Alto triples force for New Year's Eve

'Maximum effort' to stop celebratory gunfire, department says

East Palo Alto plans to add more than three times its usual police patrols in a major effort to reduce New Year's Eve celebratory gunfire, the police department announced Wednesday (Dec. 28).

Officers will be assigned to specific areas of the city where the highest levels of gunshots and fireworks have been recorded by the ShotSpotter gunshot detection system in the past three months and last New Year's Eve.

ShotSpotter is a collection of sensors that detect and locate gunshots in seconds, sending an immediate signal along with the precise location of the shots to police dispatchers. East Palo Alto is the only city in the United States that employs ShotSpotter technology citywide, according to the department.

Officers will respond to all activations in these areas and will arrest anyone caught discharging a firearm in public. Additional officers will patrol throughout the city to maintain the peace, prevent crime and violence, and arrest drunk drivers, the department said.

"I am confident that by working together we will end 2011 safely and achieve even greater crime and violence reductions in 2012," police Chief Ronald Davis told residents in a Dec. 9 announcement.

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