Security company testing facial recognition system at courthouse

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)--A St. Louis company is testing a new system to prevent work place violence, shootings at courthouses and schools.  Blue Line Security Solutions has been testing their system at the Carnahan Courthouse.

The facial recognition system is designed to stop threatening people before they can get inside the buildings.

The system called First Line is located at the front doors of the courthouse.  When people walk in a camera on top of the magnetometer catches their faces.   Joe Spiess works for Blue Line Security Solutions, “When you start looking at reliability, it’s very high on reliability.”

A judge who’s been threatened could have that person’s picture entered into the system, if the person shows up at the courthouse, sheriff’s deputies would be notified right away as soon as the camera spotted the suspect.  Sheriff spokesman Mike Guzy said, “I look at this as an improvement of our ability to secure this building, it allows us to respond quickly.”

In 1992, Kenneth Baumruk pulled out two guns and shot his wife and injured several others at the St. Louis County Courthouse.   First Line is designed to stop something like that before it ever happens.

Spiess said, “The potential of this system can save lives, there’s no doubt about that.”  For years deputies have had photos of threatening people on hand. Company officials say this First Line is more accurate.  Spiess added, “You could use it in embassies, you could use it to protect the president, you could use it in airports to identify couriers with drugs.”  Guzy said, “I think this is the 21st century’s version of a wanted poster.”

Blue Line said the system is not perfect but it attempts to be very accurate mapping 300 points on a person’s face.  The ACLU is concerned. The executive director was quoted in the St. Louis Post Dispatch, worried about who will be in charge of targeting potential threatening people. The company doesn’t believe anyone’s rights are violated when the system is in use.