LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) -- The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Western Technical College are teaming up this week to help first responders prepare for possible emergencies.
The "active shooter" training began Monday and runs through Thursday.
Kellie McElroy, Western's law enforcement academy director, said UWL holds yearly, active shooter exercises. But she said this is the first year Western, which holds various tactical training classes of its own, is participating in UWL's drills.
"Getting training for all the different public safety entities... that's not something we get to do very often," she said.
Law enforcement and emergency response officials from as far as Dane County are taking part in this week's drills at UWL. Although McElroy said the bulk of the departments are from the Western Technical College area -- covering La Crosse, Monroe, Jackson, Trempealeau and Vernon Counties.
Muddy Boots Tactical Training, a Florida security company specializing in emergency response, has been brought in to oversee the classes.
Mike Kilian, of Muddy Boots, said the active shooter training focuses not just on tracking down and disarming any potential shooters, but also on treating victims.
"If somebody is injured or shot, we don't have time to let law enforcement clear the entire building before we can go in to help," Kilian said. "So what we're doing in this class is practicing escorting EMS personnel to the victims and extracting them while other teams are looking for the suspects inside the building."
Kilian said it's important to make the training as realistic as possible.
"You will react how you train," he said. "If you have no formal training and don't practice things, you're not going to react very well."
The training exercises are also expected to foster cooperation and collaboration between the various departments responding to various emergencies.
"You should all be training together," Kilian said. "We get better results if we all train together because we all have the same goal: public safety."
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