Ex-Shrewsbury police officer creates facial recognition software to help victims of abuse

The software is called Overwatch. The project started as a tool for sexual assault and domestic violence victims.

Matt Trapani and Amanda Lee

Sep 14, 2023, 9:34 PM

Updated 310 days ago


A new facial recognition software is helping people protect themselves from those who might show up at their doorstep looking to cause them harm.
The software is called Overwatch, and it was created by former Shrewsbury Police Officer Jim Ramsey. Ramsey, who was a detective for 25 years, says the project started as a tool for sexual assault and domestic violence victims, but he says anyone can use it to protect themselves.
“Being a police officer, often it was awful telling people, ‘Hey, I can’t do anything else for you, what’s happened to you doesn’t elevate to a restraining order,’” Ramsey says.
Overwatch is a facial recognition software that uses artificial intelligence to detect a potential threat using a doorbell camera.
Ramsey says this technology can be used to help victims in court.
“The offender showed up next door and was mowing the neighbor’s lawn, the camera alerted, and we were able to capture the evidence that he was within the distance he wasn’t allowed to be, and he was arrested,” he says.
Users must fill out a form on a website and include up to 20 photos of the person they want detected. A doorbell system can be sent within days. It can immediately notify police if the person’s face is detected.
“They connect it to their Wi-Fi on their Ring app or their Blink app - whichever camera they’re using - and our software is looking for that face 24 hours a day,” says Ramsey.
More information about Overwatch can be found on the company’s website.

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