Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) is launching a new safety initiative that incorporates visual gun detection technology with external school cameras. This system, combined with an emergency alert system, initiates a robust response within seconds of a gun detection being verified.
The advanced artificial intelligence (AI) software features a three-step verification process that recognizes a gun. The system features constant video monitoring and is designed to alert CCPS officials, police and other responders when a potential gun is detected.
Alerts are initially sent to a monitoring center for review, and are then shared by phone, email and text message notifications to designated school safety officials for response. The system also provides video, images and location details to first responders. The software does not use facial recognition to protect the privacy of students and staff. Additionally, the live video feeds never leave CCPS buildings.
Real-time detection, according to Jason Stoddard, CCPS director of school safety and security, will provide school officials with valuable time to react to a possible safety threat. “Through system alerts, we will be able to notify police more quickly of a possible safety concern and place a school or campus in an emergency code faster. The technology provides advance warning before a situation occurs,” Stoddard said. Stoddard also said this additional technology enhances the school system’s comprehensive approach to detect a threat that approaches any CCPS school or facility.
CCPS is in the process of installing the software for outside building cameras systemwide and plans to have all schools and centers activated by the end of this school year. Cost of the program is $207,000 which was funded by the Maryland Center for School Safety’s School Safety Grant Funding program. The grant covers the first two years of licensing for CCPS, which will then be covered by funding from the Office of School Safety and Security.
CCPS is in the implementation phase of the project, installing the software at schools selected to pilot the technology. Any testing of the technology will be completed outside of the school day and before and after normal operating hours.