EAST LANSING, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – As Michigan State University continues to update its security measures in light of the school shooting that claimed the lives of three students, the school is exploring new surveillance technology. 

Such technology would include the use of artificial intelligence (AI) such as facial recognition and license place reading on the MSU campus according to the Lansing State Journal. 

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These advanced cameras would number in the thousands and be spread throughout the university’s 500 buildings and 8.1 square miles of campus. These cameras would in turn be linked with the Strategic Operations Center and housed within the university police department. 

“I often use the metaphor of the casino,” John Prush, deputy director of the Management Services Bureau within the MSU Department of Police and Public Safety said to LSJ. “We’re not watching every single table to see if something’s going on. That’s where using the software is going to be beneficial.”

The total cost of the project is still undetermined, as the university still decides on the number and model of each camera used, but a 2022 report estimated an annual price tag of $51 per camera.  If MSU goes with those reported numbers, 1,500 cameras would set the school back an additional $76,500 per year. 

Another potential use for the AI camera technology is something comparable to the systems in place in another Michigan school district, Crawford AuSable School District in Grayling.  

The school implemented an AI camera system and video analytics platform ZeroEyes. 

“The new technology will overlay the schools’ existing security cameras to detect when a firearm is brandished and dispatch alerts to first responders and local law enforcement as fast as three to five seconds from detection,” according to Security Magazine. 

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These updates to security come roughly two months after other system changes to four areas including building access, classroom and door locks, camera coverage expansion and mandatory training occurred. 

“Our security portfolio is multifaceted, and we’re constantly evaluating improvements and changes — seen and unseen — that strengthen safety on campus,” MSU Vice President for Public Safety and Chief of Police Marlon Lynch said in a statement. “The actions we’ve outlined today, combined with internal and external reviews, position our university to be safer, more secure and better prepared into the future.”

One of the more notable additions include adding more than 1,200 lock systems to classrooms which would allow faculty, staff and students to lockdown classrooms while “maintaining building and fire code compliance and allowing first responders to enter the spaces in the event of an emergency.”

Current students, faculty and staff members were also required to use a key card to access most buildings from 6 pm until 7:30 am the next day for the last semester. 

Some advancements include an expanded camera network with more than 2,000 more cameras spread across campus combined with MSU Police and Public Safety’s efforts to “centralize the oversight of all cameras and security systems.”