BROOKSVILLE, Fla. (WFLA) — The Hernando County School District is expanding a system to stop school threats. It is using artificial intelligence to detect possible school shooters.
Jill Renihan, the director of Safe Schools says the ‘Zero Eyes’ software system allows security cameras to detect guns as soon as they’re displayed.
“It can take our response from minutes, and in some cases, it’s been hours before there’s been an actual response, down to seconds,” Renihan says.
Using the program, when a school security camera picks up a firearm, the image is quickly vetted by someone with high-level military training, Renihan says. She says within seconds an alert is sent to district, school and law enforcement leaders with the weapon’s exact location.
As officers respond, the system continues to update officials every time the weapon is spotted on camera. “It takes them from being just this passive receptor to being a proactive device for us,” Renihan explains, “before it even crosses our threshold, we can be aware that it’s approaching, that weapon is approaching in the hands of someone intending to commit an evil act against our students, staff and visitors.”
District leaders launched the program on a limited basis last year. They plan to expand the program to 15 campuses by the end of the month and to every campus by the start of the second semester.
The monitoring costs $200,000 annually. According to Renihan, it’s a small price to pay for student safety. “If we stop on, it’s totally worth the cost,” she says.