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Berkshire Local Schools in Burton have equipped their security cameras with AI software that detects guns and notifies administration and law enforcement in seconds.
BURTON, Ohio — Artificial Intelligence is all the rage these days. A school district in Geauga County is using the tech to stop school shooters.
The Berkshire Local School District in Burton has equipped their security cameras with AI software that detects guns and notifies administration and law enforcement in seconds.
Superintendent John Stoddard told 3News tells they have about 100 cameras in and around their campus, and the AI software that’s been implemented on all of them can recognize even one-third of an exposed gun almost instantly.
The AI gun detection system is called ZeroEyes, developed by a team of Navy SEALs based in the Philadelphia area.
How it works is if the AI detects what it believes to be a gun, it sends a still image back to a human operator at ZeroEyes’ 24/7 command center, who then alerts school administration, the school resource officer, and local 911 center.
“The idea for us is to make those detections as early as possible and every second that’s saved is potentially a life that’s saved,” Stoddard said. “The more layers we can add on to a safety plan, the safer the building is going to be. So, that was the bottom line for us. It gave us the ability to have just one more thing to put in place to help.”
Stoddard said that from the time a school shooter takes out a gun, it can take minutes before the first shot is fired, but this AI detection system eliminates that time for the shooter to stage and prepare.
He shared that he even appreciates the detection of false positives because at least he knows the software is working.
“Some things that we’ve seen for false alerts in the past, we had a coach and they had their toddler son and he had a little toy gun, and that was captured by ZeroEyes,” he said of one instance. “So, they called me and said, ‘Hey, we got an alert. Here’s what it is. No need to go into lockdown.’ I’m always thankful if it’s a false alarm. My hope is that we never have to use this in a real-life situation.”
ZeroEyes Co-Founder and Chief Operations Officer Rob Huberty explained the AI’s algorithms will only get sharper with more time and exposure.
“We’re getting better at detecting guns on existing cameras,” he said. “Our AI model is improving. How we do that is we actually record ourselves with guns on similar types of cameras, and we create a massive database, and we always add to that database. We get more accurate every day. I mean, AI is just kind of designed that way and the more that you train models, the better you’re going get.”
Stoddard said they were the first school district in Ohio to use ZeroEyes when they installed the software last school year and he hopes many more districts will follow suit.
He touted the system as not only powerful, but relatively affordable. For their district’s roughly 100 cameras they pay ZeroEyes $11,520 a year.