GCS Implements New Weapons Detection System
Beginning with the 2022-23 school year, a new weapons detection system will be used on a random, rotating basis around the district during the school day and at events. The system is a more current and superior technology compared to traditional metal detectors. The EVOLV system is fully-portable, weather-rated for outdoor use, and will travel from school to school on a rotating basis.
GCS Board of Trustees recently approved the purchase of three dual-lane systems at a one-time cost of $550,000 in addition to $700,000 in recurring costs to operate the system. Each system includes the detection system, equipment, and supplies for set-up, operators, and transportation.
“There are many advantages of the EVOLV weapons detection system. In addition to being more efficient and effective than a traditional metal detector, this system is portable, and we will use it on a random, rotating basis at schools and events across the district. That element of unpredictability is one of the many preventative measures we take to deter someone from bringing a weapon onto a school campus,” said Dr. Burke Royster, Superintendent of Greenville County Schools.
The EVOLV system uses algorithm technology along with cameras to detect concealed weapons. It detects shapes, density, and location to provide the operator with a targeted search indicator. One key advantage of the EVOLV system is the ability for students to flow through its system at a normal pace while still providing accurate detection information.
The district evaluated multiple systems. The two main reasons the EVOLV system was selected is because it uses technology that is more current and effective than traditional metal detectors or other systems, and it allows multiple students to pass through at the same time at a normal pace. Traditional metal detectors and other systems can cause large groups of people to gather while they wait to go through a system, and that creates a different security risk that can be avoided with the EVOLV system.
“Two of the main reasons we chose this system is how highly effective it is and how quickly we can get our students into the building. We don’t want students standing outside in a large group waiting to get in, which is a safety issue often created by traditional metal detectors. The EVOLV system allows multiple students to pass through at the same time at normal speed, which creates a safe and efficient process,” said Travis Forrester, Director of Security, Safety, and Emergency Preparedness for Greenville County Schools.
GCS is deploying three dual-lane systems this school year (the photo shows one dual-lane system). The district will evaluate the system to determine if additional units should be purchased and implemented moving forward. The GCS Security Department will deploy the systems randomly, beginning on a given day with student arrival at one location and moving to other locations throughout the day. That element of unpredictability is one of the many preventative measures to deter someone from bringing a weapon onto a school campus The system will also be deployed at sporting and other events on an as-needed basis. A GCS Technician will operate each system. Accompanying each technician will be a Sheriff’s Deputy hired by the school district and assigned to the School Enforcement Division to serve as a law enforcement presence in case of emergency or detection of any weapon system(s).
The EVOLV system is one of the many tools the district uses to create a safe learning environment for students. For more than 20 years, GCS has partnered with local law enforcement to develop a detailed plan that covers every aspect of school security, including preventative measures that have proven to be effective. This is one of many measures GCS has in place for safety and security. For more information about our security measures, please visit our Safety and Security page. Some details of our security protocols must remain confidential to maintain their effectiveness.