GREENWOOD, Ind. – The Center Grove Community School Corporation plans to use artificial intelligence across its nine campuses to detect weapons with the aim of reducing risks amid “increasing gun-related violence in schools.”
A gun carried on school property by the wrong hands is every parent’s worst nightmare.
“I think it’s always a thought in the back of your mind when you send them off to school,” said Angie Teed, the parent of a Center Grove student. “You never know what could happen.”
Security cameras are useful in solving violent crimes after they occur. But with the addition of artificial intelligence to hundreds of existing cameras, the district hopes to proactively protect students and teachers.
“We are always looking for ways to use technology as a force multiplier for our police department,” Assistant Superintendent Bill Long said in a news release. “ZeroEyes enhances our security capabilities with 24/7/365 support and provides peace of mind in a time of unrest by detecting illegally brandished weapons on campus.”
“I think there are good things about AI and bad things about AI,” said Center Grove parent Erica Kelker. “If it can detect guns in our schools, I think that’s great.”
“I think it’s a great way to be proactive in this time of – we’ve seen more gun violence in schools across the country,” Teed added.
Not everyone is on board.
“Artificial intelligence, in my opinion, has gone from useful to an invasion of privacy,” said an anonymous parent and Center Grove district employee. “This would be another example of that. I’m very grateful for the police we have in the schools. I have spoken to them regularly. I have a lot of confidence in it. But yeah, it’s a big no from me.
The Center Grove Community School Corporation works with local law enforcement and has its own emergency operations center. The anonymous parent said she already feels safe on campus and worries that the introduction of AI technology could lead them down a slippery slope of data collection.
“Personally, I feel like we as a society have become way too comfortable and too trusting,” she said. “It’s new technology, it’s accelerating quickly. Personally, I don’t trust what data would be collected or how it would be used.”
“I would say I agree with those parents’ concerns,” said Sam Alaimo, co-founder of ZeroEyes.
Sam Alaimo, co-founder of ZeroEyes – the software company offering the technology – wants to assure the public that by not streaming live camera feeds, the company does not have the ability to store biometric data.
“We just want to tell that parent that there’s an assault rifle in front of an elementary school. That is our only job and purpose,” Alaimo said. “It is not our intention to invade privacy.”
The software works by identifying visible weapons in view of each camera and sharing that information with the company’s operations center so it can be reviewed by former law enforcement and military personnel, who will then decide within seconds whether local police must be sent. These officers will get an image of the person holding the weapon, and the exact time and location – captured by the client’s existing camera.
“More than 100 [clients] are specifically K-12. We also have many hospital customers. We don’t want to be able to store data about children’s faces. We don’t want to be able to store data about hospital patients,” said Alaimo.
Alaimo said Center Grove is not the first school district in Indiana to use the software, but could not share which districts they are.
“The system has been verified and I cannot quantify for you how many shootings did not occur because of our software,” Alaimo added. “We cannot quantify how many people have not died. And that’s the name of the game. We want this to be the case.”
FOX59/CBS4 has contacted the district requesting an interview. Stacy Conrad, communications director for the Center Grove Community School Corporation, said the assistant superintendent overseeing security was unavailable.