'We're here to save lives': Waukesha County Sheriff's Department holds armed assailant training
WAUKESHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- It's a scenario members of the Waukesha County Sheriff's Department hope they never have to experience, an active shooter inside an elementary school. Still, Sheriff Eric Severson wants the public to know his deputies are prepared should the community ever find itself faced with that situation.
"The citizens are telling me, they want to know, 'Are you prepared? What are you doing? How can I be comfortable when I send my kids to school that you're going to have the skillset necessary to do this?'" Sheriff Severson said.
On Tuesday, members of the department utilized Blair Elementary School as a training ground for an active shooter situation. Members of the media were given a first-hand look as sheriff's deputies gathered their tactical gear, entered the school, made contact with and apprehended the gunman and cared for victims.
The training is taking place just over three months after a gunman killed 21 people at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. The law enforcement response in Uvalde has been criticized recently after it was discovered over 300 officers on scene waited over an hour before making contact with the gunman.
Sheriff Severson declined to criticize the response in Uvalde, but did discuss the importance of acting quickly when on a scene.
"The core philosophy is, get the officers on the scene as quickly as possible, get their protective equipment on, go in and deal with the threat," Sheriff Severson said. "Part of this training is, all of my sworn staff are required to review the entire footage of the Uvalde situation and that's part of our classroom discussion."
Deputy Patrick Maylen has been with the department for four years. He says training situations like these help him and his fellow deputies be prepared when responding to real-life situations.
"I can speak on behalf of all the deputies here that we're confident in doing this," Deputy Maylen said. "We all signed up for job to protect and serve and if God forbit one of us gets hurt, I know all of us would do it, especially for a child. I'd rather hurt myself than have a kid get hurt."
Sheriff Severson says deputies within the department complete the training every other year, with members of the tactical unit completing similar training on a monthly basis.
"We want to do everything we can to protect the public. That's what we do," Sheriff Severson said. "We're here to save lives and we're here to protect the public."