In the midst of mass shootings, touchless security screening systems gain traction
On Tuesday, Jefferson County Schools in Louisville will hold a public hearing on whether to get a touchless security screening system in an attempt to prevent future school shootings.
The district is considering the Evolv Express, where people simply walk through a series of panels and posts and the system, using an AI algorithm, can see if what comes through is a weapon or a personal item.
You may have heard about this technology or walked through it not even knowing it was there. Great American Ball Park has a similar system made by Patriot, which WVXU told you about in 2019.
Evolv would cost Jefferson County Schools $17 million for five years. School Board Chair Diane Porter told Louisville Public Media, "I am approached by parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles; and to not be responsive and to not listen to them then we are not doing our job because we will be held accountable with whatever happens."
Evolv has 500 customers with thousands of systems. In 2022, it screened about 350 million people in the U.S., detecting more than 170,000 weapons.
The Columbus Crew is pleased with its Evolv system. It processed 80% of fans through one gate in 20 minutes. That's about 16,000 people. The Cleveland Browns replaced 100 metal detectors last year with 12 Evolv units and says the wait time is down to six minutes. Four percent of fans alerted staff they were carrying something that might be a weapon.
Evolv Co-Founder Anil Citkara says an increasing number of hospitals, sports stadiums and schools are getting the units.
"Given the amount of mass shootings in the U.S. this year, there's a tremendous level of anxiety all of us have about going out — students have about going into schools, visitors have about going into hospitals — and so if we can use our technology to help people easily go through and ensure weapons are detected and prevented, that's really what we're trying to focus on," says Chitkara.
As he looks to make the system better, he's noticing an alarming trend. "One of the things we see unfortunately is this violence is moving out of venues and into our streets in our cities. And so, we're starting to work with the cities themselves and the public safety leaders to understand how they might incorporate the Express system into their overall security plan."
There have been 199 mass shootings in the U.S. so far this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive.