Written by MARK JAEGER
Wednesday, 30 April 2014 16:53
Middle school serves as setting for officers in ‘active shooter’ drills
The happy sounds of students were missing from hallways of Ozaukee Middle School during spring break. Instead, the building was alive with local law-enforcement officers and emergency responders preparing for the unthinkable.
Officers simulated a variety of “active shooter” scenarios in the building, relying on volunteer students from the Northern Ozaukee School District and Concordia University Wisconsin for added realism.
Cedarburg Police Det. Mike McNerney, a Village of Fredonia resident and a part-time deputy with the village marshal’s office, explained that the three days of training were part of an ongoing, countywide effort.
Instructors were on hand from the Ozaukee County Sheriff’s Department, Wisconsin State Patrol, Saukville, Cedarburg and Thiensville police departments and Aurora Medical Center.
The unified response planning committee also received support from the federal Drug Enforcement Agency, Port Washington and Mequon police departments.
“Back in 2011, we started working on a unified response for Ozaukee County law enforcement and schools to an active shooter (scenario),” McNerney said.
“We feel that having a unified response to this type of incident makes our schools and community much safer as a whole. Not only as an officer but as parent whose kids go to local schools, I feel much better knowing that our law enforcement and schools have come together to make our schools a much safer place for our children and staff.”
As part of the program, law enforcement officers complete basic response training, and then take part in simulated drills like the ones held at the school.
McNerney said the training will continue throughout the summer until all area police officers have completed the live drill simulations.
At the school, five scenarios were staged including hostage rescue and medical treatment. The instructors played the role of the armed suspects.
During one scenario, the suspect ended his own life and several drills involved the use of deadly force by officers.
McNerney said the goal behind the training is to minimize the chaos that inevitably comes from a real hostage situation.
He lauded the collaborative approach used to anticipate responses in the worst-case scenarios.
“I think it’s a good example of how all of these different agencies can come together and pool their resources in order to make our schools safer,” McNerney said.
Image information: LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS from throughout Ozaukee County took part in a series of “active shooter” exercises at Ozaukee Middle School over spring break. Photo by Sam Arendt