Weapon detection systems planned for JCPS middle, high schools

The district has been researching technology since the board requested it in February.
Published: May. 11, 2023 at 1:11 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Jefferson County Public Schools and Evolv hosted a demonstration to show how artificial intelligence will be used to detect weapons at middle and high schools.

The district has been researching technology since the board requested it in February. The board has since voted to move forward with plans.

The Evolv systems might look like metal detectors, but they actually use AI to detect threats like firearms and explosives.

Students will walk through the systems. If a threat is detected, it will make a soft beep sound. Tablets also have photos of the person who set off the system and a box to show where the threat was detected.

Each system can screen about 2,000 people an hour. Multiple people can walk through at the same time. Students won’t need to clear the pockets like with a traditional detector.

Evolv systems are already in more than 450 schools across the country, including Christian County Schools and Marshall County Schools in Kentucky. They’re also used at stadiums and event venues.

They were also used to screen visitors at Churchill Downs during Derby.

Jill Lemond said the technology has caught 176,000 weapons across all venues where they are present, including schools.

On Tuesday, the board voted to move forward with the proves. The vote was for an implementation timeline that would bring weapon detection systems into schools using phases, with the first phase being implemented in Ballard, Butler, Eastern, Iroquois, Seneca, Shawnee and Waggener high schools.

Each system will be monitored by three people, including an armed officer in case a weapon is detected. JCPS officials said they believe they will be able to handle the additional workload with the current staffing.

Officials wouldn’t give a specific price tag for each system, but said it would cost the district about $68 per student (middle and high school) each year.