BURTON, Ohio (WJW) – Ensuring school safety against active shooters is a top priority for school districts across the country. In Geauga County, one district is taking a leap into the future of security and detection by using artificial intelligence to prevent and stop threats in a matter of seconds.
Berkshire Local Schools is using a first-in-Ohio system called ZeroEyes that uses a combination of the school’s 98 cameras and AI software to detect the presence of a gun.
“The firearm has to be brandished, for ZeroEyes to identify it, but it can identify with as little as a third of the firearm brandished,” Superintendent John Stoddard said.
Stoddard said studies have shown that mass shooters stage or prepare outside the building before entering to carry out their attack. That opens a window to stop them in their tracks, someone just has to be paying attention. That’s where ZeroEyes comes in.
“With ZeroEyes loaded into our cameras, we’re going to get notified within three to five seconds of a positive identification of a firearm,” Stoddard said. “Every second we can save is a potential life we can save in terms of identification, response time.”
The system was created by a team of retired Navy Seals from Philadelphia, who call the system invaluable.
“You cannot quantify the mass shooting that does not happen,” Co-Founder and Chief Revenue Officer Sam Alaimo said.
He explained AI takes a static security camera system that’s typically used to piece things together after the fact and turns it into a proactive tool that can save countless lives.
“We are the proactive AI that’s trying to solve a real problem in America right now,” Alaimo said. “And we’re trying to solve it right now, not offering thoughts and prayers. People can keep talking about gun laws, people can talk about mental health, and we should, but we have a solution for right now and that’s why we built the company.”
Berkshire School administrators, secretaries and approved personnel can access the security system at any time, but all threat-related alerts are monitored 24 hours a day by ZeroEyes.
“This is one layer. We have a multi-layered system, but the more layers you can add on to the system, the safer you can get,” Stoddard said.
More school districts in Geauga County and across Ohio are looking into incorporating ZeroEyes into their systems according to Stoddard, who described the system as affordable and necessary.