The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

Write for Us
Want your voice to be heard? Submit a letter to the editor, send us an op-ed pitch or check out our open positions for the chance to be published by the Daily Utah Chronicle.
@TheChrony
Print Issues
Write for Us
Want your voice to be heard? Submit a letter to the editor, send us an op-ed pitch or check out our open positions for the chance to be published by the Daily Utah Chronicle.
@TheChrony
Print Issues

Utah K-12 Schools Can Now Apply for AI Gun Detection

The Utah State Board of Education approved a contract with AEGIX Global, a Utah tech company specializing in emergency response safety, to distribute an AI gun detection software developed by ZeroEyes.
%28Design+by+Cecilia+Acosta+%7C+The+Daily+Utah+Chronicle%29
Cecilia Acosta
(Design by Cecilia Acosta | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

 

The Utah State Board of Education has sent grant applications for artificial intelligence gun detection to K-12 schools throughout the state. 

Rhett Larsen, Utah State Board of Education school safety specialist, said the grant funding will last until June 2025. School districts interested in continuing the program will work with local policymakers to secure financing.

“This is just an opportunity,” Larsen said. “This is not a requirement in our state. It’s for those [schools] who want to give it a try and see if this is something that works for them … and see if it’s something they wish to continue.” 

In December, the Utah State Board of Education approved a $3 million contract with AEGIX Global, a Utah tech company specializing in emergency response safety, to distribute an AI gun detection software developed by ZeroEyes.

Larsen said ZeroEyes’ AI technology will lay over a school’s existing video surveillance cameras. Once the AI picks up on a potential firearm, the picture is sent to a centralized location, where the results are verified. Once confirmed, ZeroEyes partners with AEGIX to inform local police departments of the situation.

“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,” Chet Linton, CEO of AEGIX, said in a statement.

According to ZeroEyes, the positive identification of weapons is sent to local law enforcement and school administrators within three to five seconds. Larsen added that ZeroEyes’ centralized location is staffed around the clock with military veterans and people who work in law enforcement.

Larsen said there will be two web seminars with AEGIX for schools interested in learning more about the technology and answering any questions.

The grants cover up to four cameras per school, Larsen added, and applications for the grant are open to all schools in Utah. Some requirements for schools to install the software include a stable internet connection and having cameras already in place. 

Kieran Carroll, ZeroEyes’ chief strategy officer, said the company’s AI gun detection technology will likely be installed in schools by the summer of 2024. Carroll added the $3 million allocated by the state legislature would cover only a portion of the starting funds.

“The $3M is designed to cover a small amount of initial licenses per school. If the implementation is successful, the legislature will consider additional expansion funds,” Carroll said in an email interview.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, school camera footage is considered educational records, so ZeroEyes must comply with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, which prevents schools receiving government funds from releasing student information without the student’s or their parent’s consent in most circumstances.

Civil rights groups have raised privacy concerns with firearm detection software. The American Civil Liberties Union’s senior policy analyst, Jay Stanley, wrote about the potential range of applications for AI gun detection data.

“Because gun detection analytics acts as an add-on to existing cameras, it’s not as if the cameras involved will only be used to look for guns. They can simultaneously be used for the full range of surveillance uses, including face recognition, forensic search, and even marketing and ‘business intelligence,’” Stanley wrote in an opinion column.

According to the company’s website, ZeroEyes says it complies with FERPA and never stores or monetizes personally identifiable information.

The Utah State Board of Education’s contract with AEGIX Global requires data to only be publicly released in aggregate and redacted form, so individual students cannot be identified. The contract further stipulates that data cannot be released for secondary purposes like advertising. 

“This technology is not facial recognition. It’s not a live recording. It literally takes snapshots every so often within the timing of the cameras,” Larsen said. 

The $3 million contract is part of a larger school safety bill which allocated $75 million to schools in total. Larsen said the $72 million basic school safety has been allotted through a grant process, and schools have until the end of 2026 to use the funds.

“It’s been awesome to be able to … be part of that process and see this funding go to … increasing those basic safety and security needs throughout the state,” he said. “Especially in areas where they might not have the mechanism to get the funding for those types of items, and so it’s exciting that opportunity has been granted [to] them.”

 

[email protected]

@GiovanniRadtke

View Comments (1)
About the Contributors
Giovanni Radtke, News Writer
Giovanni Radtke is a junior at the U with an associate degree in journalism and digital media from Salt Lake Community College. He is majoring in communications with an emphasis in journalism. Giovanni is a self-proclaimed cinephile who loves traveling and reading history books.
Cecilia Acosta, Designer
Cecilia is excited to be at the University of Utah studying Graphic Design and Animation. She's grateful to be a part of a team of such creative individuals here at the Chronicle. Although originally from Mesa, Arizona, she has been loving the gorgeous scenery, snowy winters, and fun activities that Utah has to offer. Besides art and design, she also enjoys hiking, boba tea, dancing, and journaling.

Comments (1)

The Daily Utah Chronicle welcomes comments from our community. However, the Daily Utah Chronicle reserves the right to accept or deny user comments. A comment may be denied or removed if any of its content meets one or more of the following criteria: obscenity, profanity, racism, sexism, or hateful content; threats or encouragement of violent or illegal behavior; excessively long, off-topic or repetitive content; the use of threatening language or personal attacks against Chronicle members; posts violating copyright or trademark law; and advertisement or promotion of products, services, entities or individuals. Users who habitually post comments that must be removed may be blocked from commenting. In the case of duplicate or near-identical comments by the same user, only the first submission will be accepted. This includes comments posted across multiple articles. You can read more about our comment policy at https://dailyutahchronicle.com/comment-faqs/.
All The Daily Utah Chronicle Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • R

    Robert Lee NievarMar 21, 2024 at 6:29 pm

    Cant you just have metal detectors or a sensor to detect the gun powder in a package? You dont need a complicated algorithm to have a sensor sniff this stuff out.

    Reply