New safety devices installed in classrooms

Shannon Columb, Staff Writer

A new addition to classrooms at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater offers students and  faculty with extra safety during an emergency lockdown.

Since December 2016, Faculties Planning and Management has begun installing immediate lockdown devices called Nightlock LockDown Door Barricades. Nightlocks are designed to prevent a door from being pushed or pried open during a lockdown.

Areas to out these new devices were chosen carefully.

“We were looking at those spaces where we had the greatest level of exposure, or potential to exposure, and those were primarily classrooms,” Greg Swanson, director of Facilities Planning and Management said.

Previously, unlike residence buildings and personal offices, which can be electronically locked by the person within the room or building, classrooms were unable to lock. In order to lock classrooms, everyone would need a key.

Not only are Nightlocks a more cost-effective choice, but as UW-W Police Services Chief, Matthew Kiederlen, said, Nightlocks are one of the few on the market that offers a tool for law enforcement by allowing officers to open doors from the outside.

An L-shaped bracket is located in a semi-translucent case. In an emergency lockdown, this bracket can be dropped into two panels located on the door and floor. The simplicity of the device allows for anyone to use it and was a major reason Kiederlen says he decided to implement them.

“[It] fits the bill for everything we were concerned with. Strength, capability, simplicity, cost and capability to pop it from the outside,” Kiederlen said.

The UW-W Police launched a media campaign aligning with the Nightlock’s debut on campus. The device will also be introduced to incoming freshmen during presentations given by the police.

“We push a lot more education to everybody, as much as we possibly can, to try and give people those tools so that they can deal with things when they occur, to better yet, prevent them from occurring,” Kiederlen said.

Introduction of Nightlocks is another way for UW-W police to make campus safer.

“It falls in line with what our philosophies are; we work towards prevention and preparation,” Kiederlen said.

Since  Kiederlen has been with the force, the number of surveillance cameras has increased and the Campus Security force has grown from six to around 50, increasing parking lot, bike and foot patrol around campus. Kiederlen says  UW-W is a safe campus, as crime rates has remained low for the past several years.

“Quite frankly if we’re really doing our jobs well, it should be pretty dang boring around here,” Kiederlen said.

The installation process is expected to be complete by the end of Spring semester.