Shortly after I heard the news about last Sunday's Sikh Temple shooting, I couldn't help but think back to my day in April with Milwaukee police offers participating in the Tactical EMS Training class at the Waukesha County Technical College.
The scenarios I watched matched up so closely with the real-life shooting in Oak Creek, that I had to give Officer Chad Stiles, the instructor at the class, a call to get his reaction.
Stiles, who works for both MPD and WCTC, couldn't comment on behalf of Milwaukee Police, but he could talk to me as the TEMS instructor.
"I'm not trying to Monday morning quarterback anything, because I wasn't there," he said, before we started talking.
But Stiles had heard the audio of the dispatch call, and he could offer some insider analysis of what happened in those volatile first minutes.
"Initially patrol is going to get dispatched in situations like this, and their job is to go in there and assess the situation," said Stiles. "Sometimes they have little information to start out with. They might not know the scope of what they're getting into. They might think it's just one person down, and then you find out there there's still a subject on the loose."
He said, "They have to try to interview people during this dynamic situation ... so they know who they're looking for. Also, medically try to take care of anyone who gets hit."
I asked Stiles if the injured police officer, Brian Murphy, acted according to protocol, tending to a victim before neutralizing the threat of the shooter. My first thought, from the outside looking in, was that he had not.
"As far as the information he had specifically, that may have been the best course of action. I can't say for sure what he knew at the time," said Stiles.
"The way we train is that if we know it's an active shooter, they go in in teams, walking past potential injured people because they need to stop that homicide in progress. If you don't know that it's an ongoing, active shooter situation, you might stop at the first victim, try to obtain information and render as much aid as possible, until you can make an assessment of the whole scope of the situation."
I also wanted to know why news footage showed ambulances from the North Shore and squad cars from the Waukesha County Sheriff office. Did Oak Creek not have enough resources to respond to this?
Said Stiles, "Multiple mutual aid calls went out. The EMS folks have a MABAS box, which stands for Mutual Aid Box Alarm System."
"It's the way that departments in the state can identify resources," explained Stiles, that a predetermined system is in place to send ambulances from around the area. That way, said Stiles, one department doesn't use and deplete all of its units on one emergency.
Finally, as an officer and a trainer, himself, I asked what went through Stiles' mind on Sunday.
"Both this incident and in Colorado, this is exactly what we've been training for, and this is exactly why we're using the methodology of training our officers this way," he said.
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Andy Tarnoff
Published Feb. 18, 2015
Doctors are very clear with their warnings that alcohol will not warm you up in the dead of winter. So, obviously, unless you have a Saint Bernard with a little flask of brandy, you should not drink to thaw yourself out during these subzero temperatures in Milwaukee right now. You may, however, drink to take your mind off winter. And it being Bar Month, we tracked down some excellent cocktail recipes from our sponsor brands.
Published Feb. 18, 2015
Karen Leahy, a CPA and Milwaukee native, doesn't really talk about her other career - something she's been doing straight through since the '80s. "I'd rather be known for brains than beauty," says Leahy, who is also a successful part-time model. "I should have been a boy," she says, nuzzling her dog in her chic Downtown condo. "I like cars, sports and sex."
Published Feb. 9, 2015
As we trudge through another winter, thinking we've got it the worst - and we hear about it the most on TV - industry insiders say that's not quite right. Everyone, everywhere complains about their city's weather and its weather coverage. Yet for the most part, every TV station reports on it the same way. Here's an in-depth look at the changing face of Milwaukee weather.
Published Feb. 3, 2015
There aren't many bars in Milwaukee where no money changes hands, you don't order your own drinks and all of the imbibing goes on in the middle of the day. But that's the world of Lisa Semerad, a bartender at the Miller Inn, the last stop on the Miller Brewery Tour at 4251 W. State St. Her customers are always in a great mood, and for Semerad, Miller is a family tradition. No wonder she loves her job.
Published Feb. 3, 2015
I remember helping a friend out in college after his grandmother died, and one of our tasks was going through her old photos and deciding what to keep and what to toss. This was a really sad task, and I felt like I was intruding on someone's life, throwing away memories that meant nothing to me. What will it be like for our generation?
Published Jan. 6, 2015
I remember back in college, I came to the realization that several different versions existed of me. Those different versions of me continue to this day, but nowhere are they more pronounced than on social media. I embraced Twitter long before Facebook and Instagram, but now active on all three, you'll experience a totally different Andy Tarnoff if you only look in one place.
Published Dec. 30, 2014
These year-end lists are always fun to write, because they are so open-ended. So bear with me if I skip the regular categories and think outside the box a little for this one.
Published Dec. 29, 2014
As you can imagine, it's not easy being a four-season bike shop in a state where it's possible to see snow on the ground for eight months out of the year. But Steve Whitford, co-owner of South Shore Cyclery in Cudahy, says he knows no other way.
Published Dec. 22, 2014
I remember vividly how hard school was. Not just the homework, but the routine of waking up early, navigating its social intricacies. Granted, my daughter is only in K5, but still, she works hard - so I like to reward her with plenty of family fun when seasonal school vacations come around.
Published Dec. 17, 2014
Yesterday, I walked around Packard Avenue in Cudahy for the first time in a long time. I mean, I drive through or around Cudahy all the time, but yesterday was different. I stopped to smell the roses. Every real Milwaukeeans should pay a visit to downtown Cudahy every now and then. It's like a window into our past, and it's still alive and kicking today.