UW semester begins with urgent safety warning from campus police
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Wednesday marks the start of a new semester for students at UW-Madison and following the brutal attack of a female student by a stranger over the weekend near campus, university police are addressing students’ growing concerns around safety.
As a department, UWPD Officer Jeff Kirchman said in addition to assisting the Madison Police Department in whatever ways they can, students will notice a heavier presence of officers.
“Increasing our visibility and patrols not only in our primary campus area but also the near-campus neighborhoods where a lot of our students and staff do reside,” Kirchman said.
Kirchman is also urging college kids to practice general safety guidelines, ‘trusting their instincts’.
“Be aware of what’s going on around you, stay in well-lit areas if you can at night, use the buddy system,” he pleaded. Another source Kirchman pointed to is the newly rolled-out BadgerSAFE app.
“It is a safety tool that both students as well as any members of the public can sing up for and use, it offers support services it offers ways to contact emergency services, it offers a friend-walk program and a lot of other resources that are all based around safety in the campus area,” Kirchman explained.
2 New Therapy Dogs
Making their college debut this fall semester on campus as well are UWPD’s two therapy K9′s Dusty and Charlie. The two four-legged additions to the department will be out at various Welcome Week events, introducing themselves to students and the community. Charlie and Dusty will be at a Welcome Week event Wednesday beginning at 5 p.m. from the north lawn of Gordon Commons.
Moving forward, officer Katelyn Gamache and K9 Charlie’s handler, said throughout the semester they will be focused on community engagement, call response and the mental health of first responders.
“We’ve already done a lot of good. I’m really impressed with where’s he’s coming but we’ve been waiting and longing for the students to come back, so now that they’re here I’m really excited to see all of his talents and techniques to be put to work.”
Gamache said Charlie loves what he does and looks forward to work everyday. “Being able to give him that reward of seeing people and really comforting them is exciting for me as a handler,” she said.
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