MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- After the tragedy at the Boston Marathon on Monday, people are on high alert, and are thinking about their safety. FOX6 News spoke with a member of the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Bomb Squad who said citizens are important in the process of investigating suspicious activities and items.
"People have to be vigilant. They're the first eyes on the scene. The police agencies likely won't be the first one to see the device," Milwaukee County Sheriff's Deputy Gary Nell said.
Nell is the Sheriff's Office's Explosive Ordnance Disposal Squad commander. Nell says it is all about WHERE a possible bomb is placed -- not what it looks like.
"A backpack sitting in a school gym or cafeteria may not be a suspicious item, but if that backpack was sitting against a gas line or under a vehicle or in an area where a crowd might be gathering that would be a suspicious," Nell said.
Nell says if citizens notice something that looks off: "Don't touch it, don't take pictures of it don't start using your cell phone in the immediate area and advise others to back away at the same time."
Nell says to be aware, there could also be a secondary explosive device like there was in Boston. For that reason, Nell says it is important people leave the area the same way they came in.
Nell also advises people to be vigilant and observant -- and to notice details at the scene. Any information will help law enforcement officials when they arrive at the scene.
Nell says it is up to the public to help authorities watch out for public safety.
"With the problems going on int the country and all the summer events coming in Milwaukee we have to be aware of what's going on. We have to be ready and willing to make the phone call," Nell said.
Nell says the Bomb Squad is constantly training with police departments and security at large buildings -- teaching them to recognize suspicious people and items.