New security measures coming to Delavan-Darien Schools

WavePanicDELAVAN — The safety and security of students and staff in the Delavan-Darien School District is being taken to a higher level with the addition of the WAVE Plus Instant Notification System.

The easy-to-use system, when activated, immediately notifies police and emergency responders of an emergency on school grounds.

The system sends unique, pre-recorded messages to all hand-held and vehicle radios operated by both the school district and the Delavan Police Department. The system can also send emails and text messages to specific personnel, such as building principals, central office administration and facilities crews.

Specific offices and rooms at all six district will be outfitted with buttons that activate the alarms, and widely used areas of each school will have highly-visible public “panic” buttons that trigger the alarm. Also, staff can carry portable activation buttons throughout the school buildings or on playgrounds.

The buttons are to be pressed when there is an emergency situation that needs immediate police attention, such as an active shooter or a suspicious person attempting to gain access to a building. With just one push of a button, police will be on their way because they are notified instantly on their radios.

Officers will know that when they hear these alerts coming from a school that something serious is happening and they will respond immediately, said retired Walworth County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Tom Hausener, who recommended the WAVE system through his private security consulting firm.

Each button is pre-programmed to deliver a specific message, which can include the area of the crisis so responders know where to go when they hear the message over the police-band radio.

The system doesn’t give responders as many details as might be obtained through a 911 operator, but it can save valuable seconds by having police be notified as soon as the call button is pressed.

Usually, in an age of cell phones, someone will dial 911 when a crisis is occurring. By then, however, police can already be nearing the scene if a panic button is pressed.

Also, the system differs from other alarm companies, which have panic buttons that may set off alerts at a call center possibly hundreds of miles away. Often times those companies have to call back the school to verify the alarm, significantly increasing police response time.

The WAVE Plus system, which has a one-time cost of about $42,400 for equipment and installation, is tied directly to the local police radios.

“When I heard of this system, I knew immediately that it would improve the safety and security of our students and staff,” Superintendent Robert Crist said. “You can never put a price on a person’s life, and if this system helps save lives, it’s worth it to have in our facilities.”

In the wake of school and university campus shootings and other mass shootings, including a movie theater in Colorado and the U.S. Naval base in Washington D.C., the system is becoming more popular in public buildings, such as courthouses, hospitals and on college campuses, Hausner said.

Walworth County government operates four of the previous model WAVE systems (which have fewer capabilities than this newer system) in the county judicial center, government center, health and human services building and at Lakeland School.

The Delavan-Darien School District will become the first K-12 district in Wisconsin to install the system, Hausner said.

In addition to adding the system to all Delavan-Darien School District buildings, Crist said he is looking to see if opportunities are possible with the Wisconsin School for the Deaf and area parochial schools to piggyback off of the district’s system if distance is not a factor, Crist said. (If the distances are too great from district equipment, the other schools would have to buy their own units should they desire.)

“We should do whatever we can to find ways to make all children safer in our Delavan-Darien community,” Crist said. “If opportunities to partner exist, we should pursue them knowing that the safety of our children is a top priority for all of us in education.”

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324 Beloit St. Delavan, WI 53115
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