West Virginia Schools Introduce Facial Recognition Software For Enhanced Safety

In a bid to bolster security measures and ensure student safety, public schools in four West Virginia counties are set to implement advanced facial recognition software capable of identifying unwanted visitors, including sex offenders.

According to reports from TimCast, the state’s Department of Education has joined forces with Rank One Computing, a leading technology company, to introduce this cutting-edge system.

At the forefront of this technological advancement is Rank One Computing’s flagship product, Roc Watch, which has been presented to the Marion County School Board. CEO Scott Swan highlighted Roc Watch’s ability to transform ordinary cameras into intelligent surveillance systems, equipping them with advanced features and functionalities.

One of the notable capabilities of the software, as outlined on the company’s website, includes the ability to identify people and objects from an unlimited number of video feeds, including faces, persons, vehicles, text, and weapons. It also offers features like license plate reading and monitoring occupancy and mask compliance.

Designed to go beyond mere facial recognition, the software covers other critical security aspects. For instance, it can detect if a door has been left open or if someone approaches with a weapon. The system can also integrate with law enforcement databases to flag criminals and sex offenders.

Director of pre-K-12 academic support for West Virginia’s Department of Education, Jonah Adkins, emphasized that the facial recognition software “provides schools with an additional layer of security.” 

School staff, students, and authorized visitors can be enrolled in the system, enabling administrators to receive real-time alerts if an unauthorized person attempts to enter the premises or if any suspicious activity is detected anywhere on campus.

Doddridge, Marion, Putnam, and Taylor Counties are the pioneers in adopting this innovative software, with installations already underway or scheduled for completion soon. This development comes as part of a broader initiative supported by a $2 million investment from the state government, aimed at enhancing school safety across West Virginia.

The implementation of facial recognition software is supported by Sen. Shelly Moore (R-WV) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV). If the plan is successful, the schools will be joining schools like St. Therese School in Seattle in the use of such technology.