OVIEDO, Fla. – New gun detection technology is being tested at Oviedo High School in hopes of keeping the campus safe.
The new technology uses the school’s existing surveillance cameras to spot guns and alert school resource officers and teachers within seconds. It’s been used at Oviedo High School on a trial basis for the past three months.
ZeroEyes is the company behind the gun detection technology, the team includes several military veterans with a background in information technology. In order for the system to work, a weapon needs to be displayed and caught on surveillance cameras.
“That was our initial concern, that the weapon has to be displayed. But if you look historically at school shootings, weapons are sometimes displayed for 15 to 20 minutes,” said Capt. Rick Francis, director of school safety and security for Seminole County Public Schools.
During a demo Wednesday, a man walked through several areas on campus with a gun pulled out. It was spotted within seconds by ZeroEyes and an alert was sent to the cellphones of district staff through the app.
“You’re getting the image itself with a box drawn around the gun and with that detail you’ll have a description of what they look like,” ZeroEyes COO Rob Huberty said.
The alert also points out the location where the gun was spotted and continues to update as the weapon is tagged by other surveillance cameras. During the demo Wednesday, some people received alerts within seconds, while others got a notification minutes after the initial detection.
“We saw some challenges versus Wi-Fi signal and normal cell signal so I think those are things they’d have to work out before making a full commitment down this path,” Sheriff Dennis Lemma said.
“It’s not 100% and really nothing is. It’s very close to 100%. If a human eye can make that determination, we can make that determination,” Huberty said.
ZeroEyes gun detection technology is currently being used in nine different school districts, including schools in New Jersey, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
School district officials said they’re still negotiating the cost to implement the weapon detection system, ZeroEyes saying it typically costs $50 per camera per month. The school district has about 3,000 cameras total.
Superintendent Walt Griffin said the district hasn’t had any recent problems with weapons in schools, but wants to stay ahead of the issue.
“If there was ever a horrible event such as the events across the country, this could be a way to save lives and give the police and SROs and staff the information they need,” Griffin said.
That new technology has been used at Oviedo High School on a trial basis for the past three months. The district said it’s working to decide if it wants to expand to other schools within the district and figure out how they’re going to pay for it.