Can schools drastically reduce the time to engage active threats?

Rancocas Valley Regional High School District, a New Jersey school system, cut the response time by more than 50% using AI-powered technology
By: | June 9, 2020
This gun detection technology from ZeroEyes can help improve a school security technology arsenal.This gun detection technology from ZeroEyes can help improve a school security technology arsenal.

Rancocas Valley Regional High School District has lowered the time it would take for the New Jersey school system and local police departments to detect a weapon on campus grounds and then apprehend the intruder by 80%.

The district reduced the response time from 1 minute and 45 seconds to 21 seconds during an active shooter drill last summer by meshing AI-powered gun detection technology with other school security technology platforms, including nearly 200 cameras and a grid mapping system.

The ZeroEyes platform can detect weapons before they are brought into a school building and, should a breach occur, where in facilities weapons are located. “This adds yet another layer to our overall security system should our cameras or grid mapping solutions fail,” says Superintendent of Schools Chris Heilig.

District officials can still be alerted of an intrusion if they are working remotely since the the platform sends notifications to users via an accompanying app.

Related: Threat assessment during distance learning

Related: Why schools should drop unannounced active-shooter drills

Related: Realistic active shooter drills strengthen school safety

In addition to this gun detection technology, district officials can quickly notify local precincts where an intruder is on campus using a separate grid mapping system.

“Our district originally sent data to local precincts that use grid mapping, which operates a lot like the game Battleship,” says Heilig. “Not using technical terms, local departments can see that we have an active shooter on A7, for example. That way, those who are not familiar with our campus know where to go,” says Heilig.

What to do before adopting school security technology

Before purchasing a different platform, schools should first make sure that the solution can integrate with preexisting security systems.

Next, run drills and tabletops to make sure staff, faculty and possibly community partners know how to use the school security technology solution should an incident occur.

“Time equals lives,” says Heilig. “There is nothing better you can do than to cut down the time you can get to a threat.”

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