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DAIS emergency shelter

The Domestic Abuse Intervention Services facility is one way Dane County officials are combating the problem, and another way is coming soon: an automatic alarm system tied directly into the 911 Center for domestic violence victims.

Victims of domestic violence in Dane County could get quicker responses from police thanks to a new alarm and radio system connected directly to the 911 Center.

County officials on Tuesday announced the roll out of the new system, which would be installed in homes of those in most imminent danger.

Dane County received a $100,139 grant through the federal Victims of Crime Act, with the county contributing $26,040 to the project.

The initial dollars will be used to buy five alarm systems. A resolution approving the local share of funding will be introduced at this week’s County Board meeting.

“Those about to commit an act of domestic violence now will need to think twice before going through the door, wondering if the next step they take toward a victim will be the one that sets off an alarm on police radios across the county,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi.

The Dane County District Attorney’s Office gets about 3,000 referrals a year for domestic violence-related crimes, and the Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS) in Dane County took more than 18,000 calls in 2017.

“We are trying to protect victims who may be in imminent danger,” said District Attorney Ismael Ozanne. “With a lack of emergency housing, home alarms provide a needed tool in providing safety options to victims and their children.”

Dane County’s commitment to combating domestic violence has been ongoing for years, with $2.5 million of county money dedicated to a new domestic violence shelter for DAIS, plus specialized programs in Human Services and Adult Protective Services.

“DAIS is incredibly grateful to be part of a strong network of partners in Dane County working collaboratively to support victims of domestic violence with serious safety issues,” DAIS executive director Shannon Barry said.

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Bill Novak is a general assignment reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal.