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UW-Madison harnesses new technology to prevent threats at campus events

MADISON (WKOW) — Imagine being at an event and having the level of security you would expect at an airport – only no waits, no belts or jackets to take off, and no awkward pat-downs. This could soon be a reality on the UW-Madison campus.

Campuses are facing an increasing threat of violence, with the number of shooting incidents on or near college campuses doubling from the 2011-12 academic year to the 2015-16 academic year when 101 incidents were recorded.

The UW-Madison Police Department announced Thursday it will beta test a cutting-edge weapons detection technology on campus. The department has signed an agreement to collaborate with Liberty Defense Holdings Ltd., a concealed weapons detection solutions company.

The technology is called HEXWAVE. It uses low-power, 3D radar imaging and artificial intelligence to detect and identify weapons, as well as other threats, without slowing down large groups of people.

“I think the public is going to like it a lot better than the walk-through metal detectors,” said UWPD Captain Jason Whitney. “The things are going to be able to speed up lines, [they are] less intrusive, you don’t have to empty your pockets. All those things are a positive.”

The new technology will roll out in the Spring of 2020.

The screening technology comes at no-cost to UWPD or UW-Madison.

Emily Friese

27 News Producer

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