WHITEWATER, Wis. - The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater is installing an inexpensive device that could pay off big during an active shooter situation.
In-between classes and studying, students sadly have something darker on their minds.
“I do worry about the security of our schools, very frequently,” Justin Heitman, a UW-Whitewater student, said.
“I watch the news and hear about things, you hope it never happens here,” Scout Springgate, another UW-Whitewater student, said.
There were 215 school shootings in the U.S. in just the past three years, according to gun safety group Everytown.
It's UW-Whitewater police chief Matt Kiederlen's job to make sure an active shooter situation doesn’t happen.
“Active shooter situations have unfortunately become a norm within our culture, at this point,” Kiederlen said. “We realize that they do happen, and our best thing to do is to be prepared.”
UW-Whitewater has everything from high tech security, to a preventative team and student and staff training. But now, they're adding a small tool called Nightlock that could make the biggest difference in safety yet.
“In the event that the campus receives an active shooter warning, you open the box, you grab the tool, the tool slides in here and you're locked,” Kiederlen said.
Thanks to the small metal device, if a bad guy wants to get into a classroom, the door is basically impenetrable.
“That door is not going to open unless you have battering ram and you're going to work on it for a while,” Kiederlen said.
“I think it's a good idea, I mean the more security we have, the better, in my opinion,” Heitman said.
“It makes me feel safer,” Springgate said.
Soon, all 300 classroom doors will have a Nightlock. It will add another layer of protection that Kiederlen knows could be the difference between life or death.
“This is one of the small pieces that can help me say, ‘Alright, we are doing everything we can,’” Kiederlen said.
The Nightlock costs $40. Officers carry a device that can override it, allowing them to get into the classrooms if needed.
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