Geauga County school using AI technology to stop school shooters
Berkshire School in Geauga County, Ohio hopes a new AI based technology will help keep its students and staff safe from a school shooter.
It’s a software called ZeroEyes that they added into their security camera system. The software can detect and alert a school if any weapon is brought into or near the building.
“It can detect with as little as a third of a firearm exposed,” John Stoddard, Berkshire School Superintendent said.
The school has 98 cameras inside and outside the building. If the system detects something it sends a notification to the administrators, then they look at the feed and decide if they need to lock down the school.
ZeroEyes was created by a group of former navy seals. Its algorithm was developed in a lab for any type of scenario and setting.
“(Theirs) thousands of different guns in our data set, different configurations, different backgrounds, different lighting conditions, different camera types, different angles just to make sure we never miss the real thing,” Sam Alaimo, Co-founder of ZeroEyes said about how they created the AI Technology.
The ZeroEyes system is not a 24/7 live feed of the school's security cameras and does not store any picture of faces. If the AI technology detects something, it sends a still image of what the camera picked up to the ZeroEyes headquarters that is manned by former military and law enforcement officers. There, a staff member sends an alert to the school's administration.
The system is designed to detect false positives, like water guns, so that no real guns are missed. The way ZeroEyes makes sure they don’t cause any unnecessary panic for a false positive is by sending a “soft alert” to the school if someone at the headquarters identifies the detection as fake.
The entire program is supposed to serve as a proactive approach to school shootings by preventing them before the trigger is ever pulled.
“I can't tell you how many mass shootings we stopped because we're catching the gun before a shot’s fired,” Alaimo said.
“Every second that you can save is a potential life that you can save,” Stoddard said.
Berkshire School is the first school in Ohio to use the ZeroEyes technology. Stoddard said they made the decision to add it to their cameras because it's more cost effective than other security methods like a metal detector and because ZeroEyes is active 24/7.
The software is another layer to the schools already existing security methods. Berkshire has a school resource officer, secured doors that require a key pass and panic buttons that alert the sheriff's department directly in an emergency.
“We are one layer in a multi-layer approach,” Alaimo said.
Alaimo is hoping to bring ZeroEyes into more schools across Ohio and into retail and commercial spaces to keep everyone safe.