How prepared is Milwaukee County for a mass shooting?

Posted at 9:15 PM, Oct 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-02 23:13:28-04

Local law enforcement has a special protocol for emergencies involving things like the mass shooting in Las Vegas called SMART or the Suburban Mutual Aid Response Team.

Basically, it's like calling 911 for law enforcement.

"Ultimately when you have a mutual aid response the boundaries if you will, they dissolve," said Milwaukee County Emergency Management Director Christine Westrich.

If situations like the mass shooting in Las Vegas were to occur in Milwaukee County, extra officers and equipment can be brought in. That is what happened in Sherman Park in the summer of 2016.

"In Sherman Park, the SMART call up system was also used for that on that Saturday evening where additional resources were called in to include resources in Walworth County where we requested an armored SWAT vehicle," Westrich said.

The SMART call goes directly to the dispatch center in the city that will deliver the help.

"Within 10 minutes you could easily have a hundred officers on scene," Westrich said.

A few weeks ago, after reports of a shooter on top of the Bayshore Mall parking garage, the active shooter protocol immediately went in place.

"The situations are so dynamic you always prepare for the worst case because if there were multiple shooters on the roof they really needed every law enforcement officer they could get. And that's what they asked for," Westrich said.

That case it turned out to be someone with a BB gun shooting at cans. 

Milwaukee County also has a plan in case someone attacked their dispatch center. The SMART call would allow them to switch between counties.