NewsProject: Drive Safer


Waukesha-made devices help protect roadside workers and pedestrians

Guardian Angels is a Waukesha company that makes a device that is saving lives around the world.
Posted at 6:05 AM, Nov 28, 2022

GREENFIELD, Wis. — A Waukesha company makes a device that is saving lives around the world.

Several area first-responders use Guardian Angel devices to make their presence known in big crowds or when they're on the side of the road.

Greenfield Police Department's Sergeant James Pizur knows the dangers of roadside work all too well.

"It was approximately 10 or 12 years ago, I was on a traffic stop. It was a late shift, so working the mid-night hours. I did stop a driver, conducting an OWI investigation and my squad was actually hit by a driver that was impaired," Pizur said.

It's a reality that first responders face every day.

"I think sometimes drivers may be fixated on technology inside their car instead of what's in front of them. Sometimes, they may have tunnel vision with the red and blue lights on the squad cars and not really seeing our officers that are out on the street," said Pizur.

It's why he recently asked the Spirit of Blue Foundation, a non-profit that provides safety equipment to law enforcement, for a grant.

The Greenfield Police Department received $8,000 to buy 65 Guardian Angel devices.

"If we can save one life with this Guardian Angel device, that's our goal," said Pizur.

Erik Thomas, who is the Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the Waukesha-based company, says the portable devices can clip on to just about anything and are visible up to five miles away. And, they're gaining popularity around the world.

"All of the World Cup security officers will have our devices on for this year's World Cup," said Thomas.

You might even recognize the devices from TMJ4 News coverage of the Milwaukee Bucks World Championship. When you look into the crowd, the blinking lights on all of the officers are nearly impossible to miss.

"If you were down there, you saw all these officers wearing high reflective vests, but also our light bouncing off that vest - really kind of creating a presence, letting everyone know where officers are," said Dan Keller, Guardian Angels Business Relationship Manager.

The company says thousands of reviews prove how effective the locally-made devices really are.

"I was standing in the road, inside a lane closure - and he swerved and went into the ditch, and it was the Guardian light that saved my life," one roadside worker said in a review.

"Most people have never seen anything like this, so drivers are more adept to slow down, move over and a lot of times even roll the window down and say 'hey what is that on your shoulder,' said Keller.

It's a tool used across Southeast Wisconsin and around the world, and it's not just for roadside workers and first responders.

"It can clip on to anything, from your kids' bicycle to putting it on your dog," said Keller.

A tool that can alert reckless and distracted drivers that something or someone is worth looking out for.

Project Drive Safer is TMJ4's year-long commitment to telling stories that will hopefully help curb reckless driving in Milwaukee.

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