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 Aug. 22, 2016
I've said it for years. Door County means different things to different people. Whether your idea of this magical peninsula is nature or adventure, shopping or relaxing, friends or family - or a mix of everything above, one storyline arcs above all the rest: Door County is what you make it.
Published Aug. 19, 2016
My friend Drew Olson has a new work address. The veteran Milwaukee sports journalist / broadcaster - and former OnMilwaukee.com senior editor - ended an 11-year run as a talk-show host at ESPN Milwaukee (540 AM) last week and will begin a new chapter with The Big 920 (WOKY) on Monday.
Published Aug. 18, 2016
This Saturday, Priscilla Presley - actress, activist and, perhaps most notably, widow of Elvis - is coming to Milwaukee for "Elvis and Me," an open conversation at The Pabst Theater about the life and experiences of the original First Lady of rock 'n' roll.
Published Aug. 3, 2016
I didn't really even know I was interested in driving a motorcycle until the House of Harley invited me to take a Riding Academy New Rider course. In three days, I checked something off my bucket list that I didn't know was on it. I took it seriously, and it was hard. But also really satisfying.
Published July 25, 2016
Jessica Tighe is an appreciative person. While the Elm Grove native has worked in West Virginia, the Quad Cities and La Crosse, now she's home and co-anchoring the morning news on CBS 58. Ask Tighe how it feels and she actually gets goose bumps: "I have family here. I'm invested in this market," she says with a smile.
Published July 11, 2016
Summerfest 2016 may have come and gone, but the memories will live forever - because we at OnMilwaukee took enough photos and video to fill a large hard drive.
Published July 9, 2016
Playing before the Barenaked Ladies and OMD, Howard Jones got the 6 p.m. spot at the BMO Harris Pavilion Saturday night, and while that's not exactly top billing for an artist who had 15 top 40 singles during his career, I'll take it.
Published July 9, 2016
In a word, Paul McCartney was amazing tonight. I feel beyond fortunate that I've now seen him play twice. Now back at the office, at midnight, Bobby is writing the main review, but I have some stuff to say, too. Random stuff, so please indulge me.
Published July 7, 2016
Go ahead; get those laughs out of the way. I'm trying to write a serious review of Anthony Ray's Big Gig show. You, of course, know him as Sir Mix-a-Lot, and unless you listened to his tapes in the early '90s, you probably recognize just one of his songs.
Published June 30, 2016
If you've ever bought an official Summerfest T-shirt, hat or other branded gift, it's first gone through Dan Elias. As vice president of The Specialized Marketing Group Inc., he's managed the merch for the Big Gig for 17 years.