MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — The weapons detection technology pilot program the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System rolled out at the beginning of the semester at one high school has been successful at deterring students from bringing guns on campus, according to the Montgomery County sheriff.
Weapons detection technology uses artificial intelligence to find guns and other weapons when a person walks through.
Since the pilot program rolled out at Northwest High at the beginning of the school year, no guns have been detected by the system. Montgomery County Sheriff John Fuson told county commissioners that is proof the technology is a good deterrent.
“Definitely a success in the manner of not finding any weapons at all coming through the system, which is exactly what we want,” Fuson explained. “This keeps the weapons out of our schools.”
Last year, before the weapons detection technology was implemented at Northwest High, officials found one gun during the school year.
“That’s all it takes is one,” Fuson said.
The sheriff and the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System asked the county commission for permission to use the leftover money from the pilot program to add three, single weapons detection lanes at Rossview High.
However, some commissioners had their doubts about whether the weapons detection technology would help stop a shooter from the outside, referencing the Covenant School shooting.
“Because they broke through a glass door, and all the other ones, they find the weak spot and they break through there. They’re never coming in through the front door where the weapons detectors are,” Montgomery County Commissioner John Gannon explained.
Fuson argued that while the weapons detection system wouldn’t stop a shooter coming into the school from the parking lot “guns blazing,” it could act as a deterrent.
“It’s also public knowledge that this shooter at Covenant in Nashville visited another school prior to going Covenant, and they left that school because of the presence of law enforcement and other safety measures in place, so that’s a good case in point that you brought up that can easily be discussed about the pros of what we’re doing at that school,” Fuson said.
The sheriff added he has started looking into additional technology that detects weapons up to 250 feet outside a school building.
| READ MORE | Latest headlines from Clarksville and Montgomery County
Officials also told commissioners the weapons detection system has also been a good deterrent when it comes to vapes at Northwest High. Faculty members have recovered 50% fewer vapes this year compared to the same time last year.
Commissioners will vote on whether to expand the weapons detection system to Rossview High School using existing funds from the district’s Special Patrols Fiscal Year 2023-2024 budget on Monday, Nov. 13. The technology would cost $349,050 over a four-year period.