Category: School Security

School Security

New Jersey high school tests new technology to prevent school shootings

New Jersey high school tests new technology to prevent school shootings

By Trish Hartman

Saturday, June 15, 2019

MOUNT HOLLY, N.J. (WPVI) — A Burlington County, N.J. high school is testing a new artificial intelligence system meant to decrease response times during school shootings.

For six months, the drills has been playing out every single week at Rancocas Valley Regional High School in Mount Holly, N.J.: a gunman gaining entrance to the school and walking the halls.

“Superintendents wake up every single day and think about safety and security for the students,” said Dr. Chris Heilig, Superintendent of Rancocas Valley School District.

The gun isn’t real, and the so-called “gunman” is the CEO of a new company called ZeroEyes.

“I said ‘if you can detect a face, a car, all these different objects through cameras, we can detect guns and send alerts to decrease response times for first responders and mitigate the threat from active shooters’,” said ZeroEyes CEO Mike Lahiff.

ZeroEyes was founded by several former U.S. Navy SEALs and has been testing its new system at the high school since December.

Rancocas Valley High School is the first school to use this technology, and has been using it for free while ZeroEyes conducted weekly tests on Sundays, and worked out some of the bugs.

“In the very beginning, when you have about 2,000 students funneling through hallways, it’s going to throw the system a little haywire at first. And we learned how to really tune that out and apply new filters so we don’t have false alarms,” said Lahiff.

The ZeroEyes technology was installed on about 25 cameras that were already at the school.

If a weapon is detected, an alert is sent to the cell phones of school administrators and first responders, notifying them that a weapon is on the premises, what type of weapon it is and where it was detected.

“It is almost impossible for us to monitor cameras constantly,” explained school resource officer Deborah Murillo. “It’s actually very helpful because our first responders would like to know exactly where the threat is inside the building.”

Company officials plan to move into more school districts in several other states in the coming months.

ZeroEyes costs about $15,000 a year to operate in a school like Rancocas Valley.

School district officials say, pending school board approval, they plan to keep using it.

“It’s really made us better as far as safety and security. We’re sold on it,” said Heilig.

Posted by Rob Huberty
Mike Lahiff ZeroEyes Prevent School Shootings
School Security

Rancocas Valley tests AI technology to secure school

Rancocas Valley tests AI technology to secure school

By Gianluca D’Elia / / @gianluca_delia

Posted Jun 17, 2019 at 11:39 AM   Updated Jun 17, 2019 at 12:02 PM

Weapon detection software made by former U.S. Navy SEALs could reduce the chance of a school shooting. Rancocas Valley Regional High School tested it out.
MOUNT HOLLY — A school shooting could start and end within just five minutes, and it might take first responders the same amount of time or more to arrive at the scene.

But now, a software company made up of former U.S. Navy SEALs in Philadelphia has been teaming up with area schools to test out weapon detection technology that could possibly recognize a weapon before it even gets indoors, and notify the school and police right away. Rancocas Valley Regional High School held an active shooter drill using the technology Thursday afternoon.

ZeroEyes, which specializes in weapon detection software, uses video analytics and existing security cameras to detect possible weapons.

It’s not the only weapons detection company in the area, but its team’s military experience sets it apart, said Rob Huberty, chief operating officer.

“I think it allows us to know the tactics of what a first responder really needs,” Huberty said. “I understand how scared you can be in situations where your life is on the line, and I want to give only the information that matters.”

Rancocas Valley in Mount Holly has been running ZeroEyes technology as part of a pilot program. The company has also been in talks with districts across the country who are interested in the software.

“This product will add another layer of security for us as educators,” Superintendent Christopher Heilig said. “It’s an unbelievable product. In the end, the more you have, the better off you are and the more secure students are.”

The goal in implementing ZeroEyes’ software is to help police get to a shooter faster and allow students to move away from where the shooter is headed. If the weapon is detected before the shooter gets in, the school can lock the doors before a shot is even fired.

In Wednesday’s drill, Mike Lahiff, the co-founder and chief executive officer of ZeroEyes, entered the high school from the main entrance and made his way through the hallway with a fake assault rifle. School administrators and local police watched the scene unfold from a conference room on a TV screen showing camera footage and a blueprint of the school.

As each security camera detects the shooter, another alert goes out, and police can easily track the shooter’s path through the school.

As the first security camera caught Lahiff passing by, a dispatch went out to Mount Holly police, and a text message notification went to school officials’ phones almost immediately.

In addition to ZeroEyes, the district has added other safety measures in recent years. The school added a full-time resource officer from the police department, installed strobe lights, set up a radio system to contact security and police, and invested in a mobile app that lets administrators lock down all campus doors with the push of a button.

“They (ZeroEyes) could do this program with any organization, but they chose to do it with schools, and I appreciate that,” Heilig said.

Huberty feels a personal connection to working with schools. His wife is a teacher. He grew up near Newtown, Connecticut, where the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting happened in 2012, and he went to college in Arizona, where some of his classmates were survivors of the 1999 Columbine High School shooting in Colorado.

“Everywhere I went, I thought, this is terrible,” he said. “Everybody’s affected by it. It’s difficult to solve. I can’t solve the psychological part, but if we use technology in an inobtrusive way — we’re not using this data for anything else — I think it’ll help.”

Heilig said the partnership is helpful for school officials who want to boost school security, but don’t have all the answers.

“It helps us,” Heilig said. “We’re educators that now, over the past two decades, have made safety and security a first priority over the last two decades. That’s just the way things have become. So as teachers, we appreciate having them as the experts.”

Posted by Rob Huberty
School Security

SCHOOL PATROL: Marion County tests new gun detection system for schools

SCHOOL PATROL: Marion County tests new gun detection system for schools
Mayor David Jackson says the county commission recently approved a bid with security company Zero Eyes, which created the system.

Monday, July 29th 2019, 5:50 PM EDT by Grace McKenna

Updated: Tuesday, July 30th 2019, 6:13 AM EDT

Marion County is gearing up to pilot a new security system that can detect guns and send out alerts to officers and staff.

Mayor David Jackson says the county commission recently approved a bid with security company Zero Eyes, which created the system.

“Our young kids, they can’t defend themselves,” he said. “So if we can stop somebody from getting into a school with a weapon, we’re going to do that.”

Jackson says he was impressed with the system when he watched a demonstration.

“They had weapons there and drew the weapons out and walked in front of the camera and you can clearly see the rifle or pistol in their hands,” he said.

The system can’t detect concealed weapons, only guns that are drawn. But Superintendent Mark Griffith says the alerts would still help schools stop tragedies before they happen.

“The technology will detect guns outside the building,” Griffith said. “And one of the things was, if we can stop it outside the building that would be huge.”

The school system is splitting the cost of the pilot program with the county. It will cost about $18,000 to test in just one school. But if it works, the plan is to roll it out in all nine schools in the district.

“We certainly don’t want anything to happen,” Griffith said. “So $18,000 is just a drop in the bucket.”

Mayor Jackson says the goal with projects like this is always safety.

“We want those students to feel safe, and hopefully this will make them feel safer. And hopefully makes the parents feel safe,” he said.

The district hasn’t decided where to test run the system yet. Griffith says it will likely be whichever school’s current security system is the simplest to upgrade.

Posted by Rob Huberty
School Security ZeroEyes in the News

NJ School Tests Weapon Detection Technology

Schools Need Weapon Detection Technology
Jessica Davis writes for Security Today. Recently she covered the news that ZeroEyes has their weapon detection technology installed at Rancocas Valley Regional High School. You can read her full article on the subject here. Former Navy SEALs and other military veterans started ZeroEyes with a simple but difficult mission. They want to stop school shootings. Their technology makes existing security camera systems more intelligent. In addition, they give much needed situational awareness to first responders.

Rob Huberty, ZeroEyes’ COO shares about his team’s military experience. He believes this is part of what makes them and their solution unique.
“I think it allows us to know the tactics of what a first responder really needs…I understand how scared you can be in situations where your life is on the line, and I want to give only the information that matters.”
ZeroEyes and Rancocas Valley Regional High School are testing a pilot program right now. The goal of this is to train the weapon detection technology to understand the nuances of this facility. There are so many people who are scared right now. A lot of solutions are being proposed to prevent these kinds of situations from occurring. Many of them are coming from a good place, but they are unlikely to be effective. Given the nature of the mentality of a school shooter, it is especially difficult to predict.

Therefore, it is incumbent on society at large to make the best use of what we have. For the ZeroEyes system, all they need are access to the security cameras which are already in place. Almost every school has some form of security camera installed already. By taking the feeds from those cameras and running them through the weapon detection technology ZeroEyes created, those cameras are now an alert system.

Christopher Heilig is Rancocas Valley’s superintendent. He says it best when he says,
“This product will add another layer of security for us as educators…it’s an unbelievable product. In the end, the more you have, the better off you are and the more secure students are.”

Posted by Rob Huberty
School Security ZeroEyes in the News

Technology To Prevent School Shootings

How Can Technology Help Prevent School Shootings?
6ABC Philadelphia recently interviewed the ZeroEyes team. The news station was interested in learning about the company and what they’re doing to help prevent school shootings. You can view the entire news story and video of their coverage here. This news story focused on the installation ZeroEyes has been testing in a Burlington County school in New Jersey. Rancocas Valley Regional High School is one of the first schools in the country to implement this new software technology.
“Superintendents wake up every single day and think about safety and security for the students” – Dr. Chris Heilig, Superintendent of Rancocas Valley School District

Teaching Cameras To Be Prevention Tools
CEO of ZeroEyes Mike Lahiff is a former Navy SEAL. He knows the meaning of ‘active shooter scenario’ better than most. Some of his co-founders are also former SEALs. Their military training makes them uniquely equipped to tackle this horrible growing trend in America. Mike says, “…if you can detect a face, a car, all these different objects through cameras, we can detect guns and send alerts to decrease response times for first responders and mitigate the threat from active shooters.”

In addition to detecting a weapon on camera, the ZeroEyes system can send alerts. Every day the system learns how to detect guns more effectively. Every week the ZeroEyes team is on school property showing the cameras toy guns, to train the machine to learn. Artificial intelligence is often thought of as some kind of science fiction. In reality, it is currently a process that requires human beings to program it. We are teaching these systems how to do what they’re doing.
School Officials Are Hopeful Now
Deborah Murillo is a school resource officer. She said, “It is almost impossible for us to monitor cameras constantly…it’s actually very helpful because our first responders would like to know exactly where the threat is inside the building.” That key bit of information can’t be understated. It will always be difficult to predict when a school shooting might occur. However, in the past, information about the location of a shooter, what kind of weapons they had, or how many shooters there were was impossible to obtain. Previously, security cameras were largely only able to provide forensic value.

Sending alerts with camera information is a game changer.
“It’s really made us better as far as safety and security. We’re sold on it,” Dr. Chris Heilig.

See the article on 6ABC News Philadelphia HERE.

Posted by Rob Huberty
AI Detection School Security ZeroEyes in the News

Defending Against School Shootings

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Details Companies That Provide Defense For School Shootings
The CBC recently recognized ZeroEyes as a piece of the solution to stopping school shootings. Skip to 3:45 to see ZeroEyes in this piece. CEO Mike Lahiff speaks with the host about gun detection. The benefits to this kind of technology are immense. ZeroEyes has their sights set on school security to make school safe again. While the team recognizes this kind of prevention is a piece of the puzzle, the problem runs much deeper.

Furthermore, the CBC covered this same story in an article on their website. You can read that story in full here. In his interview with the CBC, CEO Mike Lahiff said,
“My wife’s a school teacher…and I got tired of turning on the news and seeing active shooter events almost every week. It’s disgusting. And there’s not really a good solution out there.”
Using Technology To Stop School Shootings
There are a lot of benefits to having AI supporting your school security staff and local police. It is impossible to have people watching every security camera feed all the time. Our brains and eyes are only capable of processing so much. However, when we know what we need to do we can jump into action with the best possible information available. That’s what ZeroEyes is all about.

This company gives first responders the situational awareness they need to keep themselves and other people safe. Hopefully there is never another school shooting. Unfortunately it seems like they may keep happening unless there are additional security measures put into practice. ZeroEyes is not the only solution, but it is an integral cog in the wheel.

Posted by Rob Huberty
Diverse Student Group
School Security ZeroEyes in the News

Enhancing Student Safety With AI

Rethinking Student Safety
Caleb Jones, one of the founders of ZeroEyes said, “It’s hard to be in an environment to focus and learn when you’re scared.” As a result of this realization, ZeroEyes was formed. The founders of this company are former Navy SEALs. After coming back from service, Caleb and his team were still seeking a way to contribute to society. This desire to protect people lead them to start ZeroEyes. Recently Caleb was featured in his home town’s paper, Citizen Tribune talking about his commitment to student safety.

You can read that entire article here.
A Band Of Brothers Dedicated To Student Safety
They wanted to take on a big challenge in the world where their skills and experience were most valuable. “We shifted all of our focus to solving that problem,” Caleb said. “That problem” he’s talking about is the rise of school shootings in America.
“For those of us who served in the military, being veterans means we take protecting people very seriously too…”
Jones believes that it’s equally important to remember that safety and security professionals need better protection. Currently there are so few products on the market that give situational awareness to first responders or on-site security professionals. This needs to change if we’re going to actually provide student safety solutions.
Technology Is Only The Beginning
“As a result, we use Artificial Intelligence to actively monitor camera feeds to detect weapons. In fact, our technology can decrease response time which could save lives. The veterans on this team recognize the need for increased safety in civilian life. Finally, we know it’s our duty to provide whatever we can to the public to increase a general feeling of safety.”
That’s the commitment coming from ZeroEyes. These veterans are doing all they can to continue protecting their country. Student safety is in their sights, and schools are beginning to recognize the benefit of gun detection technology.

Posted by Rob Huberty
Sam With Toy Gun
News School Security

Weapons Detection Is “Eye Opening”

Weapons Detection Technology
A recent article in the Intelligencer, “Area school districts eyeing up weapons detection systems” provides great insight into the ZeroEyes solution. Writer Christian Menno covers the story. There is a clear need for added layers of security within school systems now. A growing trend of active shooter scenarios and rising anxiety about such events is the root cause. Weapons detection technology makes it possible for school officials to have greater situational awareness than ever before.

Menno’s article covers a recent demonstration ZeroEyes performed for Access Security. ZeroEyes’ Dustin Brooks and Sam Alaimo are both former Navy SEALs. This military experience uniquely equips the ZeroEyes team to address these dangerous situations. Brooks says, “We know what an active shooter scenario looks like…we know what these people involved are thinking and how they feel.” This is their greatest differentiator compared to other weapons detection solutions on the market.
Putting Weapons Detection To The Test
One of the challenges with this kind of technology is being able to test it’s accuracy. For the last several months, ZeroEyes has been developing its machine learning algorithm at Rancocas Valley Regional High School. Periodically the ZeroEyes team shows up on site with plastic guns they show to existing security cameras. In addition, the images are processed in real time using ZeroEyes AI software. From these images, the machine learns how to better detect weapons on camera. Over time the AI becomes stronger, and better able to perform its function.

One of the integral parts of this detection system are the alerts. ZeroEyes’ system is not only able to identify weapons, but they can capture information and send it to the appropriate authorities. The information a security camera captures includes things like: the number of shooters, what weapons they have, where they are located, where they are going, etc. This is vital information for first responders or on-site security officers. However, without that kind of intelligence, people are largely moving blind. Therefore, this new kind of data could save seconds, which can save lives.
Seconds Matter
One of the attendees at the demonstration was Val Ridge, Bensalem’s safety and security coordinator. Previously, Ridge was a Bensalem police officer for about 11 years. Ridge said,
“If we can provide that one extra layer of security, I’m looking for it…these guys have lived it. They know it. Seconds matter. They understand what those seconds mean.”
Another impressed attendee was Tony Keokham, Neshaminy’s Facilities Supervisor. He referred to weapons detection as the “first line of defense.” It is definitely not the sole or only line of defense, but it can provide a tremendous amount of security and peace of mind.

Posted by Rob Huberty
Security Camera Looking Up
AI Detection News School Security ZeroEyes in the News

Discussing Gun Detection Tech With WBIR NBC 10

What Is Gun Detection Tech?
In some sense this is a straightforward phrase. Gun detection tech is software that can read camera feeds to detect if a gun is present. Security cameras are fed into a computer and analyzed using an algorithm to determine whether or not a gun is on camera. ZeroEyes then sends that information to the appropriate authorities.

Schools in America desperately need something like this to help protect students and teachers. In the past 20 years there have been far too many incidents of violence on school properties. ZeroEyes is a company which was founded by former Navy SEALs. The mission of the company is to stop school shootings. Recently, Caleb Jones of ZeroEyes sat down with WBIR NBC 10 to discuss the company.

Caleb says, “I can’t think of a more difficult problem to solve, or a more impactful problem than the violence that we’re seeing in school today.” Watch the full news story here:

Gun Detection Tech Innovation
What Caleb says is true. “Something has to be done now…” In like manner, too many conversations about this topic devolve into a political argument. ZeroEyes provides a part of the solution. Theirs enables cameras to see guns. Security cameras can become even more powerful with this technology. “In a nutshell it’s a – a weapon is seen on a camera, the computer identifies that, sends the alert…” Ultimately technology like this will give first responders more time. Additionally, we need to find ways to get this technology into schools affordably.

That potential could save valuable seconds at a crucial time.
“A computer never gets complacent…”
Gun detection tech is secure. It is constantly learning. Over time ZeroEyes gun detection tech will actually improve. Therefore it will never get complacent. “Again, if you’re holding a stick like a gun, even the human’s gonna be like, ‘hey is that a gun?'”

This company exists to provide people predictive, preventative support. There is no way to predict when a school shooting will occur. The only way to prepare for it is to have the best possible information in the hands of the people who need it most. Quickly. At the end of the day it’s about saving lives.

Caleb says it best when he says,
“…if we could save one life I would call it the greatest success of…my life.”

Posted by Rob Huberty
School Security

Practicing Being Empathetic

Practicing Being Empathetic
There is a clear correlation between school shootings and a lack of an empathetic environment. Many school shooters have a history of behavioral problems, mental health issues, and feelings of alienation. Some were abused at home. Moreover, this kind of neglect appears to be a root cause, and leading indicator of these kinds of violent offenders. Stopping any future school shooting is a noble and worthwhile task. However, it is impossible to predict when one will occur. That is why it is so important for education to focus on developing empathetic practices to develop students and faculty.
What Does Being Empathetic Look Like?
Elliot D. Cohen Ph.D. wrote about improving relationships in her article “How to Be Empathetic.” Not everybody is naturally empathetic. Therefore, we need to also have patience for those who are learning how to relate better to others. Cohen discusses the difference between understanding empathy as a state of mind compared to a character trait. He says, “As a state of mind, empathy involves resonating with what is going on in the subjective world of another.” In other words, can you actually comprehend how another person is viewing the world.

Whether or not you agree with it. You may be adamantly opposed to their subjective view of the world. But being empathetic as a state of mind involves being able to at least wrap your head around another person’s view of the world.

As a character trait, Cohen describes empathy being a more natural or typical state of mind. This formulation can be useful in identifying somebody’s ability or capacity for being empathetic towards another. If a person can only muster empathy as a (temporary) state of mind they may need support in developing it as a character trait. Those with empathetic tendencies as a character trait may be best suited to help develop others to have the same character trait.
Laura Click’s 31 Statements To Practice
Laura Click is an entrepreneur, marketer, and writer. She published an article on Medium regarding how people can practice being more empathetic. For those who have empathy as a character trait these kinds of statements may be naturally infused in their dialogue. Similarly, for those who are developing their state of mind to be more frequently empathetic, these maybe conversation starters to keep in mind.

Examples from Click’s article:

“I’m in your corner.”
“I’m proud of you.”
“What has this been like for you?”

Empathetic Leadership
In a school system, empathetic leadership could lead to a safer environment. Students can stand out by being kind to those who are bullied around them. Simple acts of kindness can go a long way for somebody who feels dejected or outcasted. But it should not be the students’ responsibilities to make their schools safer. It is up to teachers to look out for their students. Furthermore, administrators too must find new ways to relate to young people. Regardless of the challenges we face, joining together and understanding each other makes a difference.

Posted by Rob Huberty