UWPD collaboration brings new technology to detect weapons at large-scale events

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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV)-- Next Spring, the UW-Madison Police Dept. will test a security system where people would not need to wait, take off jackets and belts, or be pat-down.

UW-Madison and Liberty Defense, Ltd. are collaborating to beta test new weapons detection technology at large-scale campus events. Courtesy: Liberty Defense, Ltd.

On Thursday. UW-Madison Police Department announced an agreement was signed with Liberty Defense Holdings, Ltd. They will be beta testing the next-generation of weapons detection technology to campus.

“At UW-Madison, the safety and security of our campus is a top priority,” said Kristen Roman, UWPD Chief of Police. “We’re excited about testing this technology, as we’re always trying to find options that could keep our community even more safe. We hope this will be a great tool for us to use in our already well-equipped toolbox, when it comes to event security.”

The new technology is called HEXWAVE. According to UWPD Public Information Officer Marc Lovicott, it uses low-power, 3D radar imaging and artificial intelligence to detect and identify weapons. It also finds other threats and anomalies without obstructing the movement of large crowds. The system can be concealed in existing structures, so fans will not be aware scanning is occurring.

Capt. Jason Whitney with UWPD, said the technology would add to security measures already in place on campus and could speed up the current process of using metal detectors.

"It provides us a good opportunity to be able to get the company to come here, bring the product here and to see if it is actually going to work," he said.

Right now, the HEXWAVE is not on the market and is still in its testing phase. Whitney said once they try out the product and it is available, the department can then decide if they would want to move forward with it.

Some students on campus said the understand the need to try out different methods of security.

"I mean they should definitely test some of the equipment if they feel like students need to be safer or this will help students more than the technology we are using right now," said Chiemeka Chioma, a junior at UW-Madison.

Specific dates or a testing location have not been chosen, however, students said they have ideas.

"Definitely big lecture halls, there are just a lot of bodies moving around, same thing with maybe Camp Randall," said Tori Kost, a junior at UW-Madison.

Bill Riker, the CEO of Liberty Defense, said in a release that it is a privilege to work with UW-Madison.

“Such cooperation will help us to advance our own knowledge about the security expected by our citizens and the law enforcement professionals entrusted with their safety," he said.

The screening technology comes at no-cost to UWPD or UW-Madison, as this is part of a beta testing program so both parties can learn more about the screening process.Other arenas and sites across the country have also entered into agreements to test HEXWAVE.

According to Liberty Defense, HEXWAVE detects both metallic and non-metallic weapons.