On the heels of an active shooter situation in Middleton in Dane County that sent a handful of people to the hospital with gunshot wounds, local officials are gearing up for an active shooter preparedness presentation for the community.
The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, in conjunction with the Lodi Police Department and the Lodi School District, will present the program from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct.. 17, at the Lodi High School Performing Arts Center.
“The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office has two guys who have been trained in ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate),” said Columbia County Deputy Max Jenatscheck. “That’s the foundation for the presentation.”
Scheduled presenters are Jenatscheck and Sgt. Todd Horn.
The goal is to embrace a whole-community style approach where law enforcement helps provide tools and resources to help prepare for any type of active shooter incident. This presentation is appropriate for anyone 14 or older.
“It boils down to two things: stay or go,” Jenatscheck said. “We will kind of expand on that throughout the PowerPoint. It comes down to what they feel is the best decision according to the circumstances. I use the analogy of ‘I give you the tools and the wood, and your job is to build the shelf.’”
Some Lodi school administrators have also had ALICE training and are expected to be on hand to answer specific questions relating to the schools after the formal presentation is complete.
Jenatscheck and Horn will stick to a PowerPoint presentation, videos and limited audience participation.
“We’ll keep the presentation close to two hours,” Jenatscheck said. “We’ll expand on each of the parts of the ALICE acronym. We can’t do scenario training like we would at a church or school, but we can help businesses if they want to do some scenario training after the presentation.”
Jenatscheck said the department started getting a lot of program requests from businesses after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, in February.
“It was on the front page of everyone’s radar,” he said. “The requests started coming in, and it became too much for the two of us, so we started doing the community presentations.”
The first was done in Portage in May.
The deputy had another analogy for this change in how information is shared with the public.
“Schools and businesses do fire drills every month, but the fire department doesn’t come and do it for them,” Jenatscheck said. “They do it on their own.”
That being said, Jenatscheck said he and Horn are willing to work with businesses, schools, churches and other organizations on specific questions they may have.
Jenatscheck would like to have community presentations like this more often, but finding a proper venue and scheduling around other duties has prevented that from happening so far.
“We’re trying to set one up in Columbus later this year or early next year,” he said. “I’ve never had anybody tell me this was a waste of their time.”
Questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org or 608-742-4166, ext. 3331.