New Jersey School Tests Weapon Detection Technology
Rancocas Valley Regional High School has been testing weapon detection software made by former U.S. Navy SEALS in hopes it could reduce the chance of a school shooting incident.
- By Jessica Davis
- June 18, 2019
Rancocas Valley Regional High School has been testing weapon detection software as part of a pilot program. The software uses video analytics and existing security cameras in its weapon detection.
The software was created by ZeroEyes, a company consisting of former U.S. Navy SEALS and which specializes is weapon detection software. ZeroEyes COO Rob Huberty said he believes its team’s military experience sets it apart from other companies working on weapons detection.
“I think it allows us to know the tactics of what a first responder really needs,” Huberty said. “I understand how scared you can be in situations where your life is on the line, and I want to give only the information that matters.”
Rancocas Valley has been using ZeroEyes technology as part of a pilot program. The school also used the technology in an active shooter drill held Thursday afternoon.
“This product will add another layer of security for us as educators,” Superintendent Christopher Heilig said. “It’s an unbelievable product. In the end, the more you have, the better off you are and the more secure students are.”
The goal of the weapons detection software is to help police arrive at a shooter’s location more quickly and to let students move away from where an attacker is headed. If a weapon can be detected before an intruder gets into the building, the school can lock its doors before anything happens.
During the active shooter drill last week, ZE co-founder and CEO acted as an intruder, entering the high school at its main entrance and walking through the hallways equipped with a faux assault rifle. In a conference room, school administrators and local law enforcement watched the drill take place via a TV screen showing camera footage and the school’s blueprint.
An alert went out as each security camera detected the shooter’s movement, allowing police to easily track the intruder’s movement through the school. As Lahiff was caught on the first security camera, a dispatch went out to Mount Holly police and school officials were alerted by text message almost immediately.
“They [ZeroEyes] could do this program with any organization, but they chose to do it with schools, and I appreciate that,” Heilig said.
The district has improved its safety and security in other ways in recent years. Rancocas Valley added a full-time school resource officer from the police department, installed strobe lights, set up a radio system to allow them to contact security and law enforcement and invested in a lockdown app for administrators.
Heilig said the partnership with ZeroEyes helps school officials who want to improve security and safety but are not experts in the field.
“It helps us,” Heilig said. “We’re educators that now, over the past two decades, have made safety and security a first priority over the last two decades. That’s just the way things have become. So as teachers, we appreciate having them as the experts.”