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School security will be enhanced with panic button badges and gun detection technology

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tavares, florida – As students in Central Florida return to classes, school administrators are working to improve campus security using technologies such as mobile panic alert buttons and artificial intelligence-powered gun detection systems. increase.

With a few clicks of a button on a plastic badge attached to a lanyard around the neck, Lake County Schools teachers and other employees can initiate a school lockdown and immediately call law enforcement. You will be able to

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The school board recently approved the purchase of a crisis alert system manufactured by Centegix. Administrators hope to have the system up and running in all Lake County public schools by early next year.

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“If a situation requiring law enforcement occurs on campus, any staff member can access the device and trigger an alert,” said Joseph Mabry, safety and security supervisor at Lake County Schools. increase. “It provides immediate assistance without delay.”

A Lake County school first introduced a basic panic alert system in 2018. This came two years before the state legislature passed a law requiring all public schools to provide a way to remotely notify law enforcement and other emergency responders of emergencies.

Named after 14-year-old Alyssa Alhadev, who killed 17 in the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, the “Alyssa Alert” law will require all schools to have Mandated to implement a mobile panic alert system. -2022 school year.

While most state-approved vendors offer app-based systems that school personnel must use their cell phones or other mobile devices to call for help, Centegix, which Lake County Schools purchased, The system is the only one that uses a credit card sized device. A plastic badge containing a physical panic button.

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Managers can switch to easy-to-start devices that can be worn on a lanyard, eliminating the need for employees to install apps on their mobile phones and avoiding problems caused by inconsistent cellular and Wi-Fi coverage says it can.

“Every staff member, every visiting staff member, every district staff member will be gifted with one of these lanyards and can trigger that alert whenever they are on campus. said Alex Hanke, district safety and security technology specialist. “Across the school district he can go straight to a 100% adoption rate.”

With three clicks of the panic button, employees can activate internal alerts that notify schoolmates of incidents such as classroom disruptions, fights, and minor medical emergencies.

“They were like, ‘We need help right now. But this isn’t necessarily a law enforcement issue. We just need help,'” Hanke told News 6.

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With two more button presses, the employee can immediately put the school into lockdown. During that time, flashing lights, sirens, and the broadcast of a recorded voice message over the campus public address system are triggered.

More importantly, these multiple button clicks send automated alerts to law enforcement and other emergency first responders who need immediate help at school.

“Over the summer, our law enforcement agencies have had many intensive trainings to hone their skills and learn new ways to reduce response times,” Mabry said. .

Antennas installed throughout the school ensure that the exact location of employees is displayed on the campus map.

“Any room on any floor can triangulate your location to within a few feet. This will give responding officers a better idea of ​​where they need to go to provide that assistance.” We can,” Hanke said.

“This is just another layer to provide safety and security,” added Mabry. “We hope parents can take comfort in knowing that we do everything in our power to keep our children safe every day.”

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Gun detection systems expanded to schools in Seminole County

Seminole County Public Schools recently expanded its use of gun detection systems that rely on artificial intelligence to identify potential firearms.

ZeroEyes was first installed at Oviedo High School in 2020 as part of a pilot program.

The technology has since been expanded to more than a dozen other campuses, according to district officials. For security reasons, the school district declined to identify specific schools.

ZeroEyes co-founder Sam Alaimo said: “But there are preventative solutions that can be implemented today, tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow to protect students and teachers from active gunmen.”

Using the school’s existing security camera system, an artificial intelligence application developed by ZeroEyes scans live video feeds for gun-like objects.

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When a suspected firearm is detected, images from security cameras are instantly sent to ZeroEyes headquarters in Pennsylvania, where a team of former military and law enforcement personnel determine whether it is a weapon.

Once a firearm is identified, ZeroEyes will electronically notify school officials and may also contact law enforcement.

Alaimo says: “This image of the shooter allows first responders to know where to go, who they are looking for, and when that person was at that exact location.” Within ~5 seconds, we could potentially receive that alert, reach the shooter’s location, and stop the shooter from pulling the trigger.”

Citing an FBI report, ZeroEyes officials say 70% to 80% of active shooting events are “staging” in advance, with the shooter showing a gun outdoors minutes before the attack. said.

This technology cannot detect hidden weapons and guns outside the field of view of the school’s cameras.

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Last year, multiple witnesses reported seeing Oviedo High School students carrying guns at a Homecoming event held outside the school at night. There was no indication that the video was taken, and according to school district officials, the ZeroEyes system did not detect one in the school’s camera feed. Police found no weapons and prosecutors declined criminal charges.

“We have detected thousands of guns, some real and some fake,” Alaimo said. The company also provides firearm detection services to corporate and government customers.

“The ZeroEyes artificial intelligence system is just one additional layer that makes up several layers of the school’s safety and security planning and resources,” said Seminole County Public Schools spokesman Michael Lawrence. “Other combinations we can publicly discuss include school resource officers on all campuses, security cameras, fencing, the Raptor soft panic button app for staff, and anonymous reporting systems such as the Speak Out Hotline, P3 Campus. The included apps, and the FortifyFL app are available for students and families.”

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