No time to hesitate: Monroe County Sheriff’s Office emphasizes mass shooting protocols after Texas massacre

SPARTA, Wis. (WKBT) — Police in Uvalde, Texas, continue to be criticized for their response to the deadly shooting at an elementary school last week. Officers waited for backup before confronting the shooter who killed 19 students and two teachers.

Following the shooting, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office is revisiting its own crisis response protocols. 

Every work day is a new challenge. 

“We never know on any given day what we’re going to be presented with,” Monroe County Sheriff Wes Revels said. 

And can be filled with difficult decisions. 

“Innocent lives are placed at a higher regard than our own,” he said. 

Chief Deputy Chris Weaver has been an instructor in Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training, also known as ALERRT, since 2015. 

“The FBI Milwaukee office took the lead in providing that training and partnering with local law enforcement to have officers trained as instructors,” Weaver said, 

Weaver trains his department on how to respond to a mass shooting. 

“Making sure officers have the skills they need should one of these incidents happen here,” he said. 

Officers are taught multiple ways to respond, depending on the support they have. 

“We teach them to work from solo, one officer response all the way up to five officers at one time,” Weaver said. 

Following the shooting in Uvalde, Monroe County deputies are re-evaluating crisis response protocols once again. 

“Redoubled our efforts to have that, you know, difficult conversation with our staff what our expectations are,” Weaver said.

Officers learn to isolate, distract and neutralize a situation. 

“Isolate them somewhere where they have no other victims so we can wait for additional responders,” Weaver said. 

And ask for help from any law enforcement in the area. 

“We are going to be enacting the mutual aid statutes and get as much help as possible immediately responding to the event,” Revels said. 

Stopping a shooting isn’t the only focus, Weaver said, adding that officers also must know how to provide first aid and assist paramedics.  

“You know in these situations, when we have serious injuries that happen with gunshots,” he said. “There’s a very brief window of being able to stop that bleeding.”

Weaver said that, although he hopes mass shootings can be prevented, the reality is they are happening. 

“I understand that they’re probably going to continue to happen on some level,” Weaver said. 

And when they do, first responders need to be prepared.

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