UPDATE: Collaboration the focal point of FBI emergency training - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UPDATE: Collaboration the focal point of FBI emergency training at Madison mall

Posted: Updated: Apr 27, 2014 09:36 PM
MADISON (WKOW) -- Local and state law enforcement agencies teamed up with the Federal Bureau of Investigations Sunday evening for a training exercise at the East Towne Mall.

The drill simulated federal and local response to a high-profile emergency such as a mass shooting.

"We spend quite a bit of time preparing at the local level," said Madison Fire Chief Steve Davis. "So it's important for us to work with federal agencies and state agencies to make sure our plans are cohesive."

"If some type of complex attack was to occur, as you can imagine you're going to have first responders show up, you're going to have the mall personnel that are obviously going to take control of the situation right away," said Bob Shields, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Milwaukee Division.

"We're going to work with these guys and coordinate to test our response and see how our efforts would be utilized," Shields said.

Shields said the FBI's goal is to provide assistance to state and local agencies in the event of an emergency.

"We're able to provide additional resources," he said, "whether it comes from our SWAT teams, our evidence response teams or our negotiators."

Davis said there are numerous challenges that can arise when coordinating emergency response between various agencies. The Madison Fire Department is responsible for medical response, so Davis said his first concern is the safety of EMS crews.

"We'll work with the feds and other, local authorities to make sure we don't put our emergency medical people in danger," Davis said.

Jody Wormet, Director of Field Operations for the Department of Justice's Division of Criminal Investigation Western Region, said coordinating communication can also be complicated.

"Trying to figure out communications, whether it be two-way radios, cell phones, email , instant messages, and being able to get that communication piece down," Wormet said.

"It's about knowing who your partners are, how to communicate with them, what the best means are, and making sure to get the job done," Wormet said.


Davis said he's hoping to take what he learned back to the rest of the Madison Fire Department. He said the added knowledge of the FBI's protocols and procedures will be useful to his firefighters. So are emergency drills like Sunday's, he added.

"The more repetitions we can simulate, the better prepared we're going to be if we ever have to actually respond to something like this," Davis said.


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MADISON (WKOW) -- Don't be alarmed if you see FBI near East Towne Mall on Sunday night. The agency is planning a training exercise.

The Milwaukee division of the FBI says it will simulate a complex incident in a public venue after the mall closes Sunday night. The FBI, federal, state and local law enforcement, fire and EMS are conducting exercises at local malls across the country, to promote preparedness. The focus is on response and recovery efforts necessary to address a complex attack.

The FBI says the exercise will not interfere with normal mall operations and have no effect on the normal business hours. The public may see law enforcement activity at East Towne and should not be alarmed but should avoid the area.

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