CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Utah Board of Education awards $3M contract to company for AI gun detection tech

Aug 5, 2023, 7:00 PM | Updated: Oct 23, 2023, 2:09 pm

Police responded to threats of shots fired at Ogden High School in Ogden on March 29. Through a $3 ...

Police responded to threats of shots fired at Ogden High School in Ogden on March 29. Through a $3 million contract awarded to AEGIX from the Utah State Board of Education on Thursday, the company hopes to bring ZeroEyes' AI gun detection technology to more school districts throughout Utah. (Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)

(Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — After a wave of school shooting hoaxes swept through the Beehive State in March, Utah-based AEGIX announced a partnership with ZeroEyes to bring artificial intelligence to the fight against school shootings.

The partnership combined the resources of AEGIX — a provider of industry-leading resources, technology, equipment and training for first responders — with ZeroEyes, the company behind the only AI-based gun detection video analytics platform that holds the U.S. Department of Homeland Security SAFETY Act Designation.

Now, through a $3 million dollar contract awarded to AEGIX from the Utah State Board of Education on Thursday, the company hopes to bring the technology to more school districts throughout the state.

“ZeroEyes transforms everyday digital security cameras into proactive defense against active shooters, detecting guns the instant they are brandished so that schools and first responders are alerted before the first shot is fired,” Chet Linton, CEO of AEGIX, said in a statement. “We applaud Utah’s increased focus on school safety and security measures, and are proud to present ZeroEyes as part of a Comprehensive Incident Response Framework to help protect students and faculty across the state.”

According to the AEGIX website, the company is currently working with the Salt Lake City School District, Cache County School District, Logan City School District, Park City School District, as well as the Salt Lake City Police Department and Cache County Sheriff’s Office.

Through the grant, board of education will present the ZeroEyes technology to all Utah school districts for consideration. Interested districts will acquire the software from AEGIX, which will then coordinate with ZeroEyes to provide full onboarding, training, installation and support.

How does it work?

Through the partnership, ZeroEyes’ AI gun detection and situational awareness software will be integrated into the AEGIX AIM active incident management platform to create a sole-source solution uniquely built for Utah public schools, according to a May release from AEGIX.

The AEGIX AIM system allows individuals in an organization — like a school — to notify others of a crisis with the touch of a button. In the event of an active shooter scenario, teachers can push a button in the app to let administrators and first responders know if they are safe or not.

Additionally, AEGIX AIM can be operated from a desktop, laptop or smartphone.

First responders, who are part of the system, will have the capability to view “dynamic, interactive” maps of a school campus, ranging from the outside of the building to individual classrooms. This function lets users know where the emergency is and where first responders should direct their attention while also enabling real-time communication between victims and first responders within a patented chat feature.

“You have these students and staff who are really on their own for a moment of time, right? And what do you do then? What do you do?” Justin Chapman, director of training at AEGIX GLOBAL, asked KSL-TV last year.

Before joining AEGIX, Chapman was a captain at the Sandy Police Department, where he worked for 28 years before expanding his work to explore other avenues of assisting law enforcement.

“The quicker we can get in there, the more protection we can give them while they’re waiting for law enforcement. We anticipate that that will translate to lives saved and a better outcome overall,” Chapman said.

As far as ZeroEye’s role in the technology, its “proactive visual gun detection and situational awareness software platform” is layered onto existing digital security cameras at schools, where it identifies illegally brandished guns and immediately shares images with a specialized group of U.S. military and law enforcement veterans at one of the ZeroEyes Operation Centers, which are staffed around-the-clock for 365 days a year, according to the release.

Once the experts are able to verify a threat, they dispatch alerts and actionable intelligence — including visual description, gun type and last known location — to local school staff and law enforcement in as quick as three to five seconds from detection.

“We have developed a strong partnership with AEGIX because we share the same passion for protecting children,” Mike Lahiff, CEO and co-founder of ZeroEyes, said in a statement. “We congratulate them on this important win and look forward to helping protect all Utah schools against gun-related violence.”

Contributing: Matt Rascon

Related: AEGIX Aim: Could this app be helpful during a school shooting?

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Utah Board of Education awards $3M contract to company for AI gun detection tech