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Lockport schools to begin using facial recognition

Lockport has become the first district in Western New York and reportedly the country to use facial recognition.
Credit: WGRZ
Lockport City School District

LOCKPORT, N.Y. — A new level of school safety -- facial recognition -- will soon be used in Lockport City Schools to keep their schools secure.  

Lockport has become the first school district in Western New York, and reportedly the country, to use facial recognition. 

According to a statement on the district's website, beginning this week, the district will start its "initial implementation phase" of using facial recognition -- the system has already been installed.

"The Lockport City School District Board of Education is committed to continually reviewing school security plans and measures to better ensure the safety of all people," district superintendent Michelle Bradley said in a statement.

The district is using the summer months to refine the system, in terms of setting up camera angles and plans to have the system fully operational at the beginning of the upcoming school year.

The system is very sophisticated and can match objects such as weapons, if they're brought to school and can match the identities of people, who are of concern to the district.

According to Lockport Schools, the system will track registered Level 2 or Level 3 sex offenders, students and staff who have been suspended, anyone prohibited from district property because of a court order and anyone who is believed to be a threat in which credible information has been reported to the district about that person.

If a match is detected, an alert is sent to a security guard, police, dispatchers and if the threat is verified, protocols such as a lockdown would kick in and a record of the match is stored.

There is a camera room in Lockport High, that has eyes on cameras district wide.

The district assures us that students, staff and visitors who are not of concern, won't be tracked and that privacy will be protected, and information will only seen by trained administrators. 

The district says that video footage will be kept for 60 days and then is erased, images are stored as long as the threat associated with that person exists. 

The school district says it has already improved securing school building entrances with cameras, putting armed security guards in several schools, and adding more staff members who are counselors, social workers, and behavior intervention specialists.

"Much to our dismay, school shootings continue to occur in our country. In many cases, these shootings involve students connected to the schools where these horrific incidents occur. Please be assured that the Lockport City School District continues to make school security a priority," Bradley said.

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