AI gun detection will soon be used in some Utah schools and it could be coming to more
‘In the face of increasing gun-related violence in U.S. schools, it is crucial that Utah districts invest in proactive technology solutions that provide threat detection, situational awareness and incident management and response,’ Nephi Police Chief Michael Morgan said
Editor's note: This is part of a series looking at the rise of artificial intelligence technology tools such as ChatGPT, the opportunities and risks they pose and what impacts they could have on various aspects of our daily lives.
Two months ago, a rash of hoax school shooting calls made their way through Utah from Cache to Washington counties, prompting swift responses from law enforcement across the state.
As may be expected from a state known for a bustling business and tech scene, the Beehive State and its businesses are constantly pushing the envelope of new ideas and innovation and Utah-based AEGIX on Wednesday announced a partnership with ZeroEyes to bring artificial intelligence to the fight against school shootings.
"In the face of increasing gun-related violence in U.S. schools, it is crucial that Utah districts invest in proactive technology solutions that provide threat detection, situational awareness and incident management and response," Nephi Police Chief Michael Morgan said in a release from the companies. "Our most important job is to keep our students, faculty and communities safe, so we must leverage the strongest and most effective tools available."
The partnership combines the resources of AEGIX — a provider of industry-leading resources, technology, equipment and training for first responders — with ZeroEyes, the company behind the only AI-based gun detection video analytics platform that holds the U.S. Department of Homeland Security SAFETY Act Designation.
AEGIX currently works with multiple Utah school districts and police departments, its website states.
ZeroEyes' AI gun detection and situational awareness software will be integrated into the AEGIX AIM active incident management platform to create a sole-source solution uniquely built for Utah public schools, according to the release.
The AEGIX AIM system allows individuals of an organization (like a school) to notify others of a crisis with the touch of a button. In the event of an active shooter scenario, teachers can push a button in the app to let administrators and first responders know if they are safe or not.
Additionally, AEGIX AIM can be operated from a desktop, laptop or smartphone.
First responders, who are part of the system, will have the capability to view "dynamic, interactive" maps of a school campus, ranging from the outside of the building to individual classrooms. This function lets users know where the emergency is and where first responders should direct their attention while also enabling real-time communication between victims and first responders within a patented chat feature.
Here’s a look at what the Aegix Global app does. A school official could send an alert to staff who then can use it to notify others of where they are and whether they’re safe and need help. This information would also be available to first responders so they know where to go. pic.twitter.com/RGlu1bEKXP— Matt Rascon (@MattRasconNews) May 26, 2022
"You have these students and staff who are really on their own for a moment of time, right? And what do you do then? What do you do?" Justin Chapman, director of training at AEGIX GLOBAL, told KSL-TV last year.
Before joining AEGIX, Chapman was a captain at the Sandy Police Department where he worked for 28 years, before expanding his work to explore other avenues of assisting law enforcement.
"The quicker we can get in there, the more protection we can give them while they're waiting for law enforcement. We anticipate that that will translate to lives saved and a better outcome overall," Chapman said.
So, where does ZeroEyes come in?
The company's "proactive visual gun detection and situational awareness software platform" is layered onto existing digital security cameras at schools, where it identifies illegally brandished guns and immediately shares images with a specialized group of U.S. military and law enforcement veterans at one of the ZeroEyes Operation Centers, which are staffed around-the-clock for 365 days a year, according to the release.
Once the experts are able to verify a threat, they dispatch alerts and actionable intelligence — including visual description, gun type and last known location — to local school staff and law enforcement in as quick as three to five seconds from detection.
"ZeroEyes and AEGIX have been working to educate Utah policymakers and school administrators for several months, and we are excited to launch this dedicated partnership between two companies that are actively working to mitigate school violence," Mike Lahiff, CEO and co-founder of ZeroEyes, said in a statement. "AEGIX's long-standing relationships with Utah schools and law enforcement will help us to greatly reduce response times and save lives."
According to the AEGIX website, the company is currently working with the Salt Lake City School District, Cache County School District, Logan City School District, Park City School District, as well as the Salt Lake City Police Department and Cache County Sheriff's Office.
"We see the integration of ZeroEyes' groundbreaking technology as a tremendous addition to our AIM solution," Chet Linton, CEO of AEGIX, said in a statement. "The synergies between our companies are obvious; we are both committed to reducing the gun-related violence that is so greatly impacting our schools."
Contributing: Matt Rascon