LUBBOCK, Texas — University Medical Center in Lubbock is teaming up with military veteran-run company ZeroEyes for a new AI-based gun detection system, according to a press release.

According to its website, ZeroEyes is “a human-verified proactive gun detection and situational awareness software that integrates into existing digital security cameras with a mission to stop mass shootings and gun-related violence.”

The creators announced the software’s deployment to protect UMC’s patients, employees and visitors. With a recent rise in workplace violence across the states, hospitals face an increased risk at work, the press release said.

“UMC is the first hospital in the region to employ AI-based gun detection security measures,” Mark Funderburk, Chief Executive Officer at UMC said.

Senior Vice President of Support Services at UMC, Jeff Hill, told, “I think one of the things that’s wonderful about ZeroEyes is that its a covert system, its not an overt system. So the public doesn’t necessarily know that this system is there unless they have knowledge of it.

UMC has existing security systems, so ZeroEyes will be layered onto those. The software has been used by some schools, Fortune 500 companies and military bases in Afghanistan, Hill said.

How it works

“It’ll scan and survey all guests and visitors as well as employees and staff who come in and out of the entrances of our hospital,” Hill said.

If the system detects a weapon, a specially-trained U.S. military or law enforcement veteran at the ZeroEyes Operation Center staffed 24/7/365, will review that alert to determine whether the threat is credible or not. If deemed credible, then a signal will be sent to the UMC police department.

“And we’ll have appropriate personnel response to that alert,” Hill said.

Since some individuals, such as law enforcement, are permitted to carry a weapon, Hill said UMC will use the system to help identify who should and shouldn’t be carrying on the campus.

When asked if HIPPA laws and privacy of patients would be affected, Hill said “This system is not going to be in any way connected to any patient HIPPA-protected medical information…in our system.”

UMC said it hoped to have the system implemented by mid-August, as it was working with ZeroEyes to ensure its installation is fully-deployed and its personnel was trained appropriately.

Read the full press release here:

ZeroEyes, the creators of the only AI-based gun detection video analytics platform that holds the US Department of Homeland Security SAFETY Act Designation, and UMC Health System today announced the deployment of ZeroEyes’ software to protect the facility’s patients, employees and visitors against gun-related violence.  

With gun-related workplace violence rising in the US, hospitals face new security challenges. Healthcare workers, who served and sacrificed tremendously through the pandemic, now face an increased risk at work. Healthcare facilities must be accessible to visitors and new patients, but this open-door policy unavoidably increases the threat of violence. Invasive security measures like metal detectors may be helpful, but they create an unwelcoming, burdensome atmosphere. And, patients are often non-ambulatory and cannot run or hide from attackers when an incident occurs.  

ZeroEyes’ HIPAA-compliant visual gun detection and intelligent situational awareness software will be layered on UMC’s existing security systems.  Identified gun images will instantly be shared with the ZeroEyes Operation Center (ZOC), staffed 24/7/365 by specially trained U.S. military and law enforcement veterans. These experts will verify the threat and dispatch alerts and actionable intelligence, including visual description, gun type and last known location, to local staff and UMC Police Force as fast as 3 to 5 seconds from detection.

“UMC is the first hospital in the region to employ AI-based gun detection security measures,” said Mark Funderburk, Chief Executive Officer, UMC Health System. “Our goal is solid – to ensure our healthcare team and patients feel safe and are safe. Toward that end, we are very impressed by the quality and speed of ZeroEyes’ response to threats. We have invested in the most innovative and state-of-the-art technology available today, while maintaining a welcoming, non-hostile environment.”

With close to 5,000 employees and 500 beds, UMC is the only Level I Trauma Center serving West Texas and Eastern New Mexico and is the primary teaching hospital of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.  ZeroEyes is the latest addition to UMC’s multi-layered security system, which also includes an inhouse police force, 100% armed security officers, scanners, strategically located panic buttons, and cameras throughout the campus.  

“We naturally think of hospitals as places of healing, so it is upsetting to acknowledge that they can also be the settings of gun-related tragedies,” said Mike Lahiff, CEO, and co-founder of ZeroEyes. “UMC is one of the nation’s most forward-thinking healthcare systems, with an obvious determination to protect its staff, patients, and their community against senseless violence. We are extremely proud that UMC has stepped forward, choosing ZeroEyes as its gun detection and intelligent situational awareness partner.”