This article was written by Erin Vander Weele and recently appeared in the News Sickle-Arrow. The District was granted permission to run the article on its website.
Dane County area police took part in Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERT) at Glacier Creek Middle School in Cross Plains on March 31 and April 1.
Glacier Creek students and staff were on spring break during the days the training took place.
Special agent Jay Darin of the FBI held the two-day ALERT training course, a national program recognized by homeland security deisgned to teach police how to respond to active shootings. The Dane County Sheriff's Office, Cross Plains, Mount Horeb, Middleton, Blue Mounds, Belleville, Waunakee and Brooklyn police departments took part in the training.
Darin is teaching about 30 courses this year in Wisconsin, an increase compared to one coure in 2013. Lieutenant Tim Schuetz of the Dane County Sheriff's Office and Lieutenant Jeff Davis of the Cross Plains Police Department helped coordinate the training. They worked to bring police from western Dane County together for the training, because all the departments would likely be responding if an active shooting incident occurred in the area.
"If we have an active shooter event here, we're going to have Dane County Sheriff (deputies) coming, we're going to have Middleton (police) coming, so we tried to open it up to the local western part of Dane County so that if something does happen in one of our schools we're all on the same page, we're all trained together and under the same concept,'' Cross Plains Police Chief Tom Janssen said.
The goal of the level 1 course is to teach police how to isolate, distract and neutralize a shooter. The officers also learn team movements, how to work as a team with other officers they may not have worked with before, how to enter rooms safely, how to approach a crisis site in the safest way, and breaching options if doors are locked.
"It's a variety of different things that will hopefully help them, giving them tools and tactics necessary to have a successful outcome if an active shooter were to happen in a school, in a business, anywhere,'' Darin said.
The two-day training included classroom instruction and scenario exercises. The deputies and officers who took part in the training received a certificate of attendance and have the option to also take part in level 2 of the training courses, starting in June. Darin emphasized the officers will need to continue to practice what they have learned from the course.
"I like to say that we give them a blueprint and kind of teach them concepts and principals, but it is up to them to then go back to their police department, train with their police department and train with other guys to really build it into their memory,'' Darin said.