The 2018 mass shooting at Stoneman-Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and others since, are tragedies that remain on the minds of parents, students, and educators all over the country. It is out of the lessons learned on that dark day in 2018 that Zeroeyes was born. Zeroeyes is one of the first, if not the only product thus far to take a proactive approach to stop shootings before they happen.
The Hernando County School District announced on Friday, February 3rd, that the district has implemented Zeroeyes campus safety technology. Local media and first responders in several area counties were invited to the Challenger K-8 School of Mathematics and Technology to learn more about the product and observe a live demonstration.
“Analysis of surveillance camera video has shown that in most mass shootings, the perpetrator first exposes a weapon in the time period between two and thirty minutes before the actual shooting happens,” said Brett Handell, Zeroeyes’ Director of Educational Services. Frequently, this occurs while the offender is approaching the target, such as walking across a parking lot or school campus.
Handell explained that the idea behind Zeroeyes is to turn surveillance cameras into a tool that can be used proactively to warn against shootings before they happen rather than only analyzing after the fact. Zeroeyes is a software system that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to identify any firearm that comes into view of an existing security camera.
When a firearm is detected, the system instantly sends an alert and video feed to the Zeroeyes 24/7 Operations Centers in Virginia and Hawaii. A specialist at the center evaluates images from the camera feed to validate the alert. Less than a minute after detection, school district and local school officials are notified of the threat through a proprietary application installed on their cell phones. At the same time, the appropriate 911 call center is notified so that a law enforcement response can be initiated. Real-time information, including images of the threat, is relayed directly to both law enforcement and selected district personnel. The images are accompanied by a map showing the locations of security cameras, with icons indicating which cameras are currently tracking the threat. This information allows all concerned to know the offender’s description, weapon type, exact location, and direction of movement at any time he is in view of a security camera.
During the live demonstration portion of the event, participants watched the system in action. The system came online as the camera in a porch area of the school generated an alert. A Zeroeyes employee with a simulated weapon in hand was observed moving toward the doors of an entrance to the school. Within 18 seconds of the threat coming into view, school officials in the room received an SMS text alert along with an attention-getting emergency tone on their cell phones. During the same time period, the class listened in on a call placed from the Zeroeyes Operations Center to Hernando County 911. Zeroeyes operators verified that 911 had received the alert and was receiving a video feed.
Zeroeyes software, which both law enforcement and school officials have on their phones and computer systems, was now displaying the feed from the activated camera. Also displayed was a map showing the location of every camera in the school. The camera resolution was sufficient to determine a description of the person and his clothing, as well as whether he had a rifle or pistol.
As participants watched, our “bad guy” began to move about the campus. As successive cameras came online tracking his movements, pins on the map would change color to both indicate where he had been, as well as indicate which camera was now providing the video feed.
The Hernando County School District has deployed video cameras sufficient to provide full coverage of campuses, according to Director of Safe Schools Jill Renihan. As a side note, Zeroeyes only works with an IP-based camera system (cameras that can be viewed via an internet connection). As a result, the district upgraded its outdated analog camera system before installing Zeroeyes. In addition to compatibility with Zeroeyes technology, the upgrade allowed administrators to access the video for virtually any camera from any location. Previously, administrators had to go to a specific location in the school, depending on where the camera was located. They then had to sift through footage to find the video they needed to see.
Zeroeyes was created in 2018. The system is the result of an idea by a group of former Navy Seals, veterans, and technology experts who were looking for a proactive approach to stop mass shootings. Adopting a motto of “Stop the threat at first sight, not the first shot,” Zeroeyes saw its first commercial client go online in 2019. Since then, their technology has been implemented by the US Air Force, Fortune 500 companies, and School Districts all over the United States. For more information on Zeroeyes technology, visit their website at www.ZeroEyes.com.