Georgetown-Ridge Farm adds AI-based gun-detection system – The News-Gazette

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GEORGETOWN — A Philadelphia-based company has been contracted to provide an AI-based gun-detection system in and around Georgetown-Ridge Farm school properties.

G-RF Superintendent Jean Neal said the board of education voted to contract with ZeroEyes, a video analytics platform.

The board also voted to hire a school resource officer who will serve primarily at the high school and junior high school but will also spend time at the elementary school “that will focus on prevention efforts,” Neal said.

The ZeroEyes contract price was not disclosed at the request of the company, Neal said.

The AI system connects through the district’s Verkada digital camera system.

“What it does is, if it detects something that looks like a weapon, they have someone on their end that will view it,” Neal said.

“This is a company developed by a former military special ops individual as well as law enforcement.

“They have … individuals trained in identifying weapons that are previewing anything that pops up that looks like a weapon. If they confirm it is a weapon, the police are called and the district is alerted, sometimes within 15-20 seconds.”

If it is determined the threat is valid, ZeroEyes personnel will dispatch alerts and actionable intelligence, including visual description, gun type and last known location, to local law enforcement and school staff.

A weapon could not be inside a book bag or someone’s clothing to be identified.

Neal said the system is one more layer in the district’s safety education system, which also includes ALICE (alert, lockdown, inform, counter, evacuate) tactics training; school SRO coordination with the Georgetown Police Department and the presence of crisis teams.

“Our teachers and administrators are present in our buildings, supervising,” Neal said.

“The areas that we feel we needed more coverage are in those non-structured settings during arrival or dismissal, during athletic events where we have our own students and their families here, but we also have people coming from other school districts, and at dismissal times.”

Neal said the district also plans to add more surveillance cameras in the district.

She hopes the new ZeroEyes technology can be added before the end of the school year, but if not by the beginning of the 2024-25 school year.

In addition to other public school districts, the ZeroEyes system has been adopted by the U.S. Department of Defense, colleges/universities, health care facilities, commercial property groups, manufacturing plants, Fortune 500 corporate campuses, shopping malls and big-box retail stores.

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