30+ agencies stage mass shooting drill in Delafield

DELAFIELD -- The sound of gunshots filled the air Saturday morning, April 21st near downtown Delafield. Fortunately, it was all part of a drill. More than 30 agencies gathered to practice how they would handle a mass shooting.

The drill took place on the campus of St. John's Northwestern Military Academy. Shortly after 8:00, the simulated gunshots went off and officers rushed toward the building. Firefighters and paramedics followed once it was safe to enter. Allowing that to happen safely requires good communication, which officials say was the primary goal of the exercise.

"It's vital," said Delafield Police Captain Erik Kehl, "It only enhances the ability to communicate, enhances our response. If there's a breakdown in the communication, vital information is not gonna be passed along and we're not gonna be able to communicate effectively.

Once crews treated the 60 cadets playing the part of "victims," Flight for Life helicopters came down and made trips to three different area hospitals.

"These exercises are very important for people and their families to know that should anything happen, we've got the assets to be deployed that should take care of any issues," said Waukesha County Executive Dan Vrakas.

Although Kehl said the drill moved slower than he would've liked, he said hiccups were expected. Most importantly he says, are the lessons learned during the drill as opposed to unprepared officers handling a real crisis.

"Great experience planning it, a great experience for the guys participating," he said, "It's just gonna be a win-win I hope for everyone."

Waukesha County Emergency Management stages one "mass casualty" drill every year. Past exercises have included a terrorist attack and a tornado.