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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


UWPD releases BadgerSAFE app to centralize student resources, services

App services include “FriendWalk,” off-campus alerts
Cat Carroll

The University of Wisconsin Police Department launched the BadgerSAFE app, which combines a variety of safety features on one platform in August.

The app is replacing UWPD’s WiscGuardian safety app, which was launched in 2017, according to a UWPD Downtown Liaison Community Officer Diego Lema Hernandez.

BadgerSAFE was designed with accessibility in mind, Hernandez said.


“So if somebody is hard of hearing or somebody needs further assistance with their mobile device to read out loud a message instead of them reading it, we’ve tested that and it is compliant with what we’re looking for, so that it’s available to all users.” Hernandez said.

New features on the BadgerSAFE app include the ability for students to contact a UWPD dispatcher over text. Hernandez said this enables students to contact authorities if they are afraid of someone hearing the call to a dispatcher.

“Sometimes if you’re barricaded and you feel as if the aggressor is close and you don’t feel like calling 911, you can text it,” Hernandez said.

Another feature — titled the “FriendWalk” — allows students to track each other’s location to make sure they get to their destination safely, according to the UWPD website.

Additionally, the app contains a feature that allows parents to stay informed about their children’s safety.

At UW’s Student Orientation and Registration, Hernandez has urged families to download the app when speaking about safety education and enforcement resources.

Hernandez described BadgerSAFE as a “one-stop-shop” for student safety resources. While all students and staff are automatically enrolled in WiscAlerts, the on-campus alert system that sends an email and text about ongoing threats on campus, students must opt in separately for off-campus WiscAlerts.

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But with BadgerSAFE, the notifications for off-campus threats are automatic upon downloading the app.

“We want as many people as possible to have it, because what we learned was that when [the UWPD] were doing off-campus alerts via text, not many people were opted-in,” Hernandez said.

Associated Students of Madison’s Anti-Violence Coordinator Landis Varughese recently downloaded the app and said it centralizes lots of information due to the variety of features.

Varughese, who is also a member of the UWPD Guidance and Oversight Committee, said he hopes to serve as a liasion between students and the administration when it comes to anti-violence on campus.

“I would love to continue to work with the UWPD to better the app as students see fit,” Varughese said. “A big part of my position is to vouch for students and students’ needs when it comes to anti-violence work on campus.”

Hernandez said there are ideas for improving the app already, and UWPD is looking for feedback to improve BadgerSAFE.

The app is downloadable on the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.

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