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What Fuels Versaterm’s Public Safety Acquisition Streak?

Versaterm CEO Warren Loomis, fresh off a new acquisition, talks about building a public safety ecosystem and why specific tools are not always enough. Versaterm is among the most active acquirers in gov tech.

Warren Loomis believes that when it comes to public safety tech, it’s all about the ecosystem, not just the latest tool.

Loomis is CEO and president of Canada-based government technology vendor Versaterm Public Safety, among the most active acquirers in the industry. He spoke to Government Technology shortly after Versaterm, which traces its roots back to 1977, said it had bought New Hampshire- and Vancouver-based CI Technologies. That company, founded in 1992, sells professional standards, internal affairs, wellness and early intervention software for public safety agencies.

“We are on a mission to provide a better ecosystem for public safety,” he said.

That means buying firms that provide better public safety services in general and smoother workflows for first responders — not just, say, producing the latest new tools. It means, according to Loomis, identifying potential acquisition targets by how well their products and services can fit within the Versaterm lineup like puzzle pieces.

In 2020, private equity firm Banneker Partners took control of Versaterm — reflecting another trend in gov tech — setting the stage for the company's recent growth.

The privately held company has made eight acquisitions in recent years, Loomis said, making it one of the major acquirers in the public safety market.

Versaterm announced in October 2022 its acquisition of FivePoint Solutions, whose technology focuses on data integration and case management in law enforcement, courts and schools. That deal gives the company more options with such tasks as data exchange and integration and bolsters its growing public safety suite — itself a reflection of larger trends in the gov tech industry, where one-stop shopping and unified platforms are gaining popularity.

One of the main goals of Versaterm, and one of the forces behind its acquisitions, involves offering a wider, even holistic view of public safety agencies, according to Loomis.

To help illustrate that view, he talked about how the use of mandated body cameras gained support after the 2014 unrest in Ferguson, Mo., following the police shooting of Michael Brown. Many people put their faith in that particular form of transparency, yet police shootings and more protests and riots followed.

Yet he said that data and the latest technology can offer “all of the indicators” that can tell if a police officer is having a bad day or week, or is a potential longer-term problem for the department and the community it serves.

“We can take that information, bring that data together and feed it into an early intervention system,” Loomis told Government Technology. As well, he added, data and digital tools can help to remove human bias from officer intervention and review processes — another ideal around which Versaterm is basing its acquisition and growth strategies.

“Public safety in general is suffering right now from the inability to find really, really good people,” he said. “You need to understand the problems and get under the tent or inside the wagon circle” to better understand and address those vital challenges, instead of just deploying the latest new product.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article stated that Versaterm has made nine acquisitions. It has made eight.
Thad Rueter writes about the business of government technology. He covered local and state governments for newspapers in the Chicago area and Florida, as well as e-commerce, digital payments and related topics for various publications. He lives in Wisconsin.