Artificial intelligence takes over school security at PPS

Published: Jul. 27, 2022 at 7:59 PM CDT
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PEORIA (25 News Now) - There will be a new eye in the sky this year at Peoria Public Schools.

Tuesday night, the school board approved a new system designed to protect students, without being noticed. It’s called ‘Intellisee,’ an artificial intelligence that learns over time with the goal of protecting kids as they go about their day at school. 64 cameras already installed around the district will use Intellisee, which the board calls a ‘risk-mitigation tool.’ According to an explanation by a company representative, data will be both analyzed in real time to identify objects and people, plus record footage for future playback. It then alerts the appropriate staff to handle whatever problem it detects, as long as it poses danger of some kind. If it’s a puddle, a custodian will receive a message to clean it up. If it’s an active shooter, local police will be alerted.

“This is just simply adapting with the current climate of what a school day could look like in 2022,” says board Vice President Mike Murphy.

But the new tech doesn’t come without concerns.

“I think in the initial trials, I think there will be some learning curves for it,” Murphy points out.

None of the data or video collected will leave PPS or Peoria Police servers, either, which means no third parties will have access to images of students outside of administrators or officers.

During Tuesday night’s meeting, the deadly shooting in Uvalde, Texas was brought up multiple times, something district leaders want to do everything they can to have avoid happen in our area.

“As a district, we need to learn from that, and learning from that means putting different things in place that could potentially stop the threat of violence inside of our schools,” says Peoria Public Schools Board member Gregory Wilson.

Money for the system will come through Title IV funds from the state, with grants focused on student support and academic enrichment.

Rollout is expected at the beginning of the school year. But officials won’t say where for security reasons. The board has agreed to a one-year contract with Intellisee.

“We want to make sure it’s safe, and we’re going to do our job as a district to ensure school safety,” says Wilson. “That’s a number one priority, the safety of our students, staff, teachers, and administrators.”

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