College News

New UWPD app aims to make campus safer for students

Bill Curtis, UWPD's emergency management director, spoke to members of the Associated Students of Madison's Shared Governance Committee Wednesday about the WiscGuardian app.

Image By: Cameron Lane-Flehinger

For all those worried about safety on campus, UWPD wants to be your guardian. Your WiscGuardian, that is.

The UW-Madison Police Department launched a new app this year that allows students to easily communicate with police if they are in danger. The program, called WiscGuardian, is the product of a partnership between the department and the Associated Students of Madison.

Rep. Deena Whitwam, the chair of ASM’s Shared Governance Committee, and UW-Madison junior Jake Victor worked with UWPD Lt. Brent Plisch to get the app approved for use by students this fall.

“The features available through this app enable the UWPD to assist students better than ever before,” Whitwam said in a statement.

The app, run nationally as Rave Guardian, is provided by the same company as WiscAlerts. To download the app, students should search for “Rave Guardian” in the App Store—once students enter their email account, UW-Madison’s version of the app will show up.

At a Shared Governance Committee meeting Wednesday night, UWPD Emergency Management Director Bill Curtis announced the WiscGuardian program and encouraged members to tell their friends about the app.

Curtis touted the app’s features, such as its “send a tip” feature, which allows students to easily contact UWPD to submit non-emergency crime tips. The app also provides a “safety timer” feature which will contact students’ “guardians”—people they set as emergency contacts—if they did not reach home in the time they said it would take them. Curtis sees it as a way to give students peace of mind when walking home at night.

“We have SafeWalk, but SafeWalk isn’t around all the time … this is a 24/7 feature,” Curtis said. “It empowers you to have someone watch you and make sure you’re okay.”

At the meeting, Whitwam praised UWPD’s efforts to make campus a safer place and stressed that the WiscGuardian project came to fruition as a result of student activism.

“Students got together to look at more advanced [safety] technology, and that’s how this project was born,” Whitwam told members of the committee. “This was a student project that UWPD has taken on and funded. It’s a perfect example of a grassroots campaign.”

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