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Dane County 911 Helps Department of Justice Launch 24-hour Toll Free "Dangerous Weapons in the School" Hotline

For more information contact:

Sharyn Wisniewski, (608)267-8823

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 1/2/2002

Issued By: County Executive
View only releases from County Executive
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Sharyn Wisniewski (608) 267-8823
January 2, 2002

Dane County 911 Helps Department of Justice Launch
24-hour Toll Free “Dangerous Weapons in the School” Hotline

Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk today announced that a cooperative agreement between Dane County and the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) is allowing the state to operate a 24-hour toll-free number for people to provide information anonymously regarding dangerous weapons in schools, both public and private.

The number (1-800-622-3784) is the same number that has been used for many years to report drug-related anonymous tips. Now, tips regarding both drugs and weapons will be taken at that number.

The dangerous weapons hotline was created in the new state budget, but technology and 24-hour staffing at the DOJ did not exist to carry out the mandate. While the DOJ handled the existing drug tip hotline during business hours, other resources were needed to handle the new weapons hotline on a 24-hours a day, seven days a week basis.

Falk and Attorney General James Doyle found a solution in which the Dane County Communications Center, better known as the 911 Center, will handle calls that come into the hotline 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Dangerous weapons tips will be referred to local schools and law enforcement for appropriate action.

“We were happy to help. Having the calls come into our 911 Center is a great example of state and local government cooperation. By working together, we are able to provide this valuable service to citizens, improve safety in our schools, and save tax dollars,” said Falk.

Reports of dangerous weapons in schools will be provided immediately to the operator for both the school district administrator and the local law enforcement agency. Protocols under school safety plans would then determine how the report is handled in each case.

Attorney General Doyle and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Elizabeth Burmaster are contacting all public school district administrators and principals and all private school principals in Wisconsin to notify them of the new dangerous weapons hotline. Additional information to publicize the toll-free number is being developed and will be made available soon.

Students and children are still encouraged to use existing resources such as teachers, other adults, law enforcement or 911 to report dangerous activities in schools. Drug tips received on the hotline will still be referred for investigation to the Department of Justice’s Division of Narcotics Enforcement.

The Dane County Communications Center is operating the hotline on an interim basis pending final contract language and approval by the Dane County Board of Supervisors. The DOJ will pay $50,000 to Dane County for staffing the Hotline on a 24-7 basis.

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