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AI gun detection in school security system in high demand after Uvalde mass shooting

Omnilert uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to detect guns and notifies authorities.

SAN DIEGO — Parents are doing everything in their power just to keep kids safe. Unfortunately, because of mass shootings, threats can be found in every corner of a child or adult’s life.

One California based company, Omnilert says they're hoping to disable those threats before anyone can get hurt.

Omnilert's President and CEO, Dave Fraser says their technology uses a building's already existing infrastructure like security cameras to help keep people safe.

"It's an artificial intelligence system that's been trained to recognize handguns and rifles,” said Fraser. “We look for guns being brandished. The AI detects that and then we have human beings take a second line of defense, largely to determine what the correct response might need to be."

Fraser says if the Omnilert technology was in place in the Parkland, Florida high school shooting, for example, he believes more lives would have been saved.

"The gunman was prepping for some time beforehand. In fact, he did that in full view of security cameras," said Fraser.

He says that's where Omnilert comes in. Their technology uses already existing cameras, detecting drawn firearms as a threat. Fraser says once the threat is detected, the system can do even more.

"Lock down the doors of the school if such a system was installed, set off the sirens and alarms,” said Fraser. “It can notify everybody through text message and social media feeds, whatever is needed, and it can send rich, contextual information to first responders,"

Fraser says Omnilert has not prevented a possible mass shooting yet. However, Fraser adds, "I'm glad to say that we've done many, many detections of guns in places they should not be,"

A basic Omnilert system costs a few hundred dollars a year, per camera. System levels get more expensive with additional layers of protection like lockdown capability.

Jahnel and Paulina are local moms. Jahnel says she likes the idea of using artificial intelligence to prevent mass shootings.

"You never know who's able to walk into the school. And to have the security cameras be able to detect things like that, it's good to have that layer of safety for the kids," said Jahnel.

Both moms say they like what they've heard about using technology to help keep people safe, but they have questions.

Paulina asked, "It's red until they pull out the gun. So how fast would their response be? When a gun is out, it's ready to be used so how fast would the response be?"

David Bejarano is a law enforcement consultant. He is a former police chief for the City of San Diego and Chula Vista and a former US Marshal.

"In law enforcement and public safety, we have to embrace every piece of technology to try and save lives,” said Bejarano. “We've been using gun-shot detection where you get an alert after the shot is fired. This one is leading edge because you get an alert before the shot is fired. I believe you're going to see more private companies, law enforcement, public safety – really embracing this technology and pursuing it faster than they were in the past."

WATCH RELATED: San Diego leader in red flag gun laws, now under discussion in Congress (May 2022)

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