Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) has announced the implementation of a new safety initiative that incorporates visual gun detection technology with external school cameras. The aim of this system is to initiate a robust response within seconds of a gun detection being verified, by integrating with an emergency alert system.
The AI software used in the technology features a three-step verification process that recognizes a gun and provides constant video monitoring. The system 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. It does not use facial recognition to protect the privacy of students and staff, and the live video feeds never leave CCPS buildings.
According to Jason Stoddard, CCPS director of school safety and security, real-time detection will give school officials 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. He also noted that this additional technology enhances the school system’s comprehensive approach to detect a threat that approaches any CCPS school or facility.
CCPS is currently 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. The program costs $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.
During the project’s implementation phase, any technology testing will be completed outside of the school day and before and after normal operating hours. CCPS hopes this technology will enhance school safety and provide students, staff, and parents peace of mind.