Service staff near Summerfest grounds trained to identify suspicious activity

Mantra: If you see something, say something
Posted at 10:39 PM, Jun 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-29 07:38:35-04

MILWAUKEE- Summerfest kicks off Wednesday and that means big crowds are expected downtown and the surrounding area. Law enforcement is making sure people who work in the entertainment industry near the grounds are trained to look out for and report suspicious activity.

"With everything happening in our world today, obviously what happened in Orlando, you can never be trained enough to really understand how they work and who to call in case there's a bad situation," said Omar Shaikh, Surg Restaurant Group President.

Bouncers, bartenders, waiters, chefs and managers gathered at The Garden, a Surg entertainment space, to learn how to spot something unusual.

Surg Manager Patrick Todd oversees the bar division for Surg restaurant group and believes training for emergency situations is necessary.

"It keeps everyone safe.  If everyone knows the same protocol and has the same procedure for things we're all making decisions that keep the customers safe and provide a good experience for everyone around," explained Todd.

Police say it's important not to change your lifestyle, but to have awareness.  You should report things even if they seem trivial and have a protocol in place.

"We've got Summerfest, which attracts great crowds along with the ethnic festivals, but also Milwaukee is a place a place where people like to be outside.  They like to eat outside they like to enjoy their entertainment venues outside so we're going to have large crowds.  They're going to be in public spaces in large numbers and we want to make sure that they're safe," explained Chief Ed Flynn, Milwaukee Police.

Police say it's crucial for people to report suspicious activity in an entertainment setting and that's why businesses in District 1 are being proactive ahead of Summerfest.

"We just want our folks in the entertainment industry to just be prepared and be aware of their surroundings and know that if you see something that looks suspicious report it," said Beth Weirick, Downtown Business Improvement District CEO.

New security measures will also be in place. Click here for more information. 

To report something out of the ordinary call 877-WI-WATCH, (877-949-2824).  Click here for more information.