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SSN Interview with BISD Director of Safety and Security Ty Morrow

SSN Interview with BISD Director of Safety and Security Ty Morrow

SSN Interview with BISD Director of Safety and Security Ty Morrow

BRAZOSPORT, Texas – In early February ZeroEyes announced the deployment of its A.I. gun detection platform at the Brazosport Independent School District (BISD). As a result, Security Systems News sat down with the district’s emergency manager and Director of Safety and Security, Ty Morrow.

SSN: Mr. Morrow, could you tell us a little bit about BISD?

Morrow: Our district encompasses about 11,700 kids and we've got 24 facilities - 19 of them are instructional facilities and the rest are functional support services. We employ, I think, 21 police officers and we’ve got about 17 safety specialists, who are basically security guards.

SSN: Could you tell us what drove your district’s decision to upgrade its security?

Morrow: The district has always been security management focused, but the event at Santa Fe, you know, kind of intensified that for them. (Editor's note: it’s unclear if Morrow is referencing the school shooting at Uvalde, Texas, a town west of San Antonio, or an incident in previous weeks where shooters driving near Brennan High School in San Antonio forced the lockdown of the school, or an incident last October where a Bradley middle school student arrived with a loaded gun). 

And as a result of that, they went from having educators trying to manage the safety and security protocols and collaboration with the chief of police to where they incorporated and created the job that I currently hold, which is the Director of Safety, Security and Emergency Management. Once I got into this role, I was given the full latitude to use my experience and identify the best practices that are out there in the industry and bring that platform and safety protocols to the district. To ensure that the kids focus on learning, teachers focus on teaching, and the folks responsible for safety and security keep our eyes on the ball at all times to make sure we've got the best things in place for them.

SSN: Could you tell me what it was about the ZeroEyes platform that appealed to you?

Morrow: I've looked at a whole lot of different A.I. technologies for the last three years, and ZeroEyes stuck out to me as being the only solution that had a verification component to it that was verified outside of the organization, which meant we could spend our time doing other things, and if they saw something, they would bring it to our attention within three to five seconds. Then we could initiate our emergency operations plans.  All other AI's you know, somebody inside the district has to be trying to monitor those cameras while school is in session. Given that we've got over 2,000 cameras deployed that gets to be very problematic for us staffing wise.

SSN: Is the district planning any other security measures in the coming year?

Morrow: We’ve got a lot of security plans in place. Of course, I believe you have to have redundancy because things that are technology based have the potential to fail. Time is not our friend in an emergency event, so we've got multiple solutions that we deploy, including ZeroEyes,  to make mass notification to the masses that we have an active shooter.

SSN: Have you received any feedback from your parents or your school families about your security plans?

Morrow: I would say absolutely, yes. They are just amazed at the level of safety and security that the district has employed to ensure the safety and security of the students, so much so that, you know, the district was recognized as having the outstanding individual service award for Safety, Security and Emergency Management from the Texas School Safety Center for the entire state of Texas this past year based on the things that we have in place, and the parents are just tickled to death to know that. We've got a plan, we've got a process and it's very comprehensive, and it's very robust and it doesn't depend on just one solution. Everybody's engaged in the safety and security protocols from the custodians to the groundskeepers, the teachers, the parents, the principals, to safety and security specialists, to the police officers, to administrators, and to the cabinet level folks.

SSN: Have there been any incidents at your school that have prompted the need for your security in the recent past?

Morrow: Yes, unfortunately about two and a half to three years ago when I first took this job over, we had a false active shooter event that took place at one of our intermediate schools. But because of the plans that the district had put into place, the event was resolved without any injuries or casualties, and it turned out to be a false event. The outgrowth of that has led us to look at our plans and kind of reconstitute them and upgrade them and make sure that we learned from the lessons from that one event. We have them in place now, so much so that we recently, under Governor Abbott's new TEA (Texas Education Agency), we held a mass notification casualty event here on October 25, where we brought all the regional players together, non-NGO’s, non-government organizations like the Red Cross and the Salvation Army. We brought all the local hospitals and life flight helicopters and made sure we had a comprehensive plan If something happened. You know exactly what each one's role was and where they need to respond on any of our 19 campuses, which has already been identified and laid out. So, if we have an event at any school, everybody knows exactly where they're going to manage that event.

In conclusion, Morrow wanted to stress that all the other school districts out there take a look at ZeroEyes and other artificial intelligence services, noting how useful the technology can be and that the software acts as a “Force Multiplier” for limited staff.

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