GREENWOOD, Ind. — The Center Grove Community School Corporation is planning to use artificial intelligence across its nine campuses to detect guns with the goal of reducing risk amid “rising gun-related violence in schools.”
A gun carried by the wrong hands onto school property is any parent’s worst nightmare.
“I think it’s always a thought in the back of your mind when you send them off to school,” Angie Teed, the parent of a Center Grove student, said. “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 faculty.
“We are always looking for ways to leverage 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 unease by detecting illegally brandished guns on campus.”
“I think there’s good things about AI and bad things about AI,” Center Grove parent Erica Kelker said. “If it can detect guns in our schools, I think that’s great.”
“I think it’s a really great way to be proactive in this day and age of – we’ve seen more gun violence in schools across the country,” Teed added.
Not everyone is on board.
“Artificial intelligence has gone from being helpful to an invasion of privacy, in my opinion,” one anonymous Center Grove parent and district employee said. “This would just be another example of that. I am very thankful for the police that we have at the schools. I’ve talked to them on a regular basis. I’m very confident in them. But yeah, it’s a big no from me.”
The Center Grove Community School Corporation has partnered with local law enforcement and has its own emergency operations center. The anonymous parent said that she already feels safe on campus and that she is worried introducing AI technology could lead them down a slippery slope of data collection.
“I personally feel like as a society, we’ve become way too comfortable and trusting,” she said. “It’s new technology, it’s speeding up fast. I personally don’t trust what data would be collected or how it would be used.”
“I would say I would agree with those parents’ concerns,” ZeroEyes co-founder Sam Alaimo said.
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 there’s an assault rifle in front of an elementary school. That is our sole task and purpose,” Alaimo said. “We’re not looking to invade privacy.”
The software works by identifying visible guns within view of any camera, sharing that information with the company’s operations center to be reviewed by former law enforcement and military personnel, who will then decide whether to dispatch local police within a matter of seconds. Those officers will have an image of the individual holding the gun, and the exact time and location – captured by the client’s existing camera.
“Over 100 [clients] are specifically K-12. We have many hospital clients as well. We do not want to be able to store data on kids’ faces. We don’t want to be able to store data on hospital patients,” Alaimo said.
Alaimo said Center Grove is not the first school district in Indiana to use the software, but could not share which districts those are.
“The system is verified and I can’t quantify for you how many shootings didn’t happen because of our software,” Alaimo added. “We can’t quantify how many people didn’t die. And that’s the name of the game. We want that to be the case.”
FOX59/CBS4 reached out to the district requesting an interview. Center Grove Community School Corporation communications director Stacy Conrad said the assistant superintendent overseeing security was unavailable.