RICHFIELD — For the first time, poll workers and election volunteers in Richfield will get active attacker training.
An active attacker could mean someone with a knife, car, or anything.
"The probability is still very very low but chance favors the prepared mind. As village administrator it's my responsibility to make sure that my staff, even my part-time staff, and my volunteer staff have the resources and training in order to be successful," said Jim Healy, Richfield's Village Administrator.
Healy said the training is not intended to scare anyone. Rather, they want to take advantage of the safety resources at the Washington County Sheriff's Department.
"Something as simple as knowing where the exits are, knowing what the chain of command is, knowing what they can expect from law-enforcement officers when they show up on site. These are very basic things that we can do to make sure that if something were to occur that everybody is prepared," said Healy.
The training will include a presentation and Q&A. It will not be a live-action scenario.
Brandon Baker from Milwaukee pleaded guilty to several crimes after he made threats to a polling place on Election Day in 2018. Police said they found him armed with a rifle.
Healy said there was not a particular case that sparked their efforts to expand the safety training.
"We’ve never had any situation that I’m aware of where there has been somebody coming into a polling place and then shot people or attacked people. We're not aware of that. That doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen. We’re not aware of any particular intelligence that would indicate something like that is necessarily a threat," said Reid Magney, public information officer for the Wisconsin Elections Commission.
Magney explained the commission holds election security exercises across the state. They include emergency scenarios, but they leave active attacker training to law enforcement.
"I don't want voters to hear about this and get worried about it. But it should be reassuring them at the village taking steps to make sure people know what to do in case of a situation like that," said Magney.
The active attacker training is part of a comprehensive review of Election Day procedures to maximize safety efforts, optimizing pedestrian and car traffic, and having clear lines of communication.
Poll workers and volunteers will undergo training Friday at Northbrook Church.