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Chelsea School District Keeps Students & Staff Safe with AI Visual Gun Detection

Located in Chelsea, Michigan, the Chelsea School District (CSD) is home to more than 2,400 students across a high school, middle school, and two elementary schools. To keep its students and staff safe while they are on any of their campuses, the district integrated an AI visual gun detection system into some of its interior and exterior cameras in early 2023. This adds a new layer of security specifically designed to help save lives in the event an active shooter ever comes on the grounds of one of its schools.

Gun violence in schools across America continues

In fact, the 356 school shootings reported in 2023 represent the highest number of shootings in a single year over the last four decades. And these events are not only happening inside the school buildings. Based on an analysis of recent shootings, more than 80 percent occurred outside the building in places such as parking lots, playgrounds, athletic fields and other school-owned property.

To keep its students and staff safe, the CSD reviews its security plan and tests its preparedness on an ongoing basis. According to Michael Kapolka, CSD Superintendent, “Ensuring the safety of the educational community is not only a goal for the district, but it is also paramount to providing a conducive learning environment for the students.” As part of this commitment, the district recently upgraded nearly 200 cameras throughout all of its school campuses. This was done to provide the best “field of vision” which Kapolka felt was lacking. 

The new cameras installed were all high-definition (HD), which meant the clarity of what they can capture had been improved dramatically. However, they still required a person to watch the footage, which often did not occur in real-time because no one person, or even a team of people, can monitor that many cameras simultaneously. 

And then Kapolka heard about AI visual gun detection and Omnilert.


Choosing the Right Gun Detection Technology

While Kapolka was proud of the upgrades they were making to the school surveillance system, he began researching ways to leverage these new cameras to the best of their ability. That is when he learned about Omnilert Gun Detect. When integrated with an existing camera system, this solution can provide 24/7 monitoring with a near-instant response at the first sight of a gun to ensure the best possible outcomes in the event of an active shooter or act of gun violence. Unlike humans, Omnilert Gun Detect never gets tired and can monitor feeds from every one of the cameras that have the software integrated with them:  

The CSD initially focused on cameras in key locations such as the main entrances of the schools.  According to Kapolka, the addition of AI visual gun detection has significantly enhanced the security the district already had in place.

If an active shooter comes onto its campus, the cameras monitored by Omnilert Gun Detect can now perform the following:


Visually detect a weapon in less than a second. 


Send an alert with images of the detection, a video clip and camera name and location of the potential threat to Omnilert Monitoring centers for human verification. Once the threat is verified, key CSD personnel are notified within two seconds for final confirmation. 


Once the threat is verified, a series of pre-planned events is initiated instantly, including calling the police, locking doors, and sending alerts to students and staff. This solution gives emergency response teams advance warning before shots are fired and delivers precise information on the location of the shooter throughout the crisis.


In the event a shooter is identified by an outside camera, these actions could lead to an immediate lockdown before the shooter even has a chance to enter the building. Given that the police are one mile from each school, this nearly instant notification is key for ensuring a swift, robust, and effective response. 


Privacy & Service

Protecting the Privacy of Students is Always a Priority

While the CSD wants to protect students from active shooters, they also want to protect their privacy. That is what made the Omnilert gun detection system a clear winner. The platform is specifically designed with privacy concerns in mind as there is no use of facial recognition on subjects being monitored and the video feeds never leave the school premises.

Outstanding Service & Support

The CSD has been extremely pleased with the superior service and support they received from Omnilert staff and integrators. “From the initial phone call to the implementation, follow up and training, they have been phenomenal,” Kapolka said. “Any time we had a question or an issue, an Omnilert team member was immediately available to us, which is something you don’t find from many companies.” In fact, that was one of the key reasons the CSD chose Omnilert Gun Detect because in speaking to competitive solution providers, the focus on customer support did not match what Omnilert offered.


Support from Local Police

The CSD has had a consistently strong working relationship with their local police department, and they were eager to involve them in this newest security initiative. The police already have a live feed to each school from another security system, and they teamed with the CSD to develop an emergency preparedness plan and ensure everyone was aligned on how to best respond in the event of a real, active threat.  

Kapolka has been very impressed with the capabilities of Omnilert Gun Detect and how it can provide local police with valuable information during an event. For example, if a shooter comes on campus, the system can provide real-time situational analysis that communicates where the shooter is at any given time as well as provide key information on what the shooter looks like, how many guns they have and more. This information can be extremely valuable for responding officers who know exactly where to go and can even provide information that allows for students and staff to leave via safe evacuation routes.

According to Kapolka, “The more we can do to equip the people who are responding with accurate info – the more lives we can save in a crisis.”


Looking to the Future

Kapolka plans to add Omnilert Gun Detect to additional internal and external cameras in the future, with a focus on any blind spots that may obscure their field of vision. 
"The adoption of this software in our district marks a significant stride in advancing safety and security. While we hope to never encounter such a situation, we remain steadfast in our dedication to safeguarding the well-being of our students and staff. Have the conversation with Omnilert to see how they can help bolster your existing security infrastructure. You won’t regret it."
Michael KapolkaSuperintendent, Chelsea School District

Why Every Second Counts

According to the FBI, most active shooter incidents are over within five minutes. Clearly, every second counts and if first responders can arrive faster and people alerted earlier, then the best possible outcomes can be achieved. 

Schools can’t predict when, and if, violence will strike, but the data points to an alarming trend of record level school shooting incidents throughout the U.S. The CSD's commitment to providing a safer campus is an example to all schools that the power of technology, combined with preventative planning, makes a difference.