Waukesha active shooter training; school is classroom for deputies

Stopping an active shooter in a classroom. That was the goal of training in Waukesha County on Tuesday, July 26,

Blair Elementary School in Waukesha closed permanently in 2019. On Tuesday, sheriff's deputies had free rein of the building. All afternoon, the school was their classroom. 

"We strive for as much realism in all the training that we do," said Waukesha County Sheriff Eric Severson.

Active shooter training in Waukesha

Blair is the backdrop for the Waukesha County Sheriff's Department's biennial active shooter scenario. There is hope it is training that no one ever has to use. 

"Fortunately, we don’t have a lot of active shooters within Waukesha County," Severson said.

The training helps deputies like Patrick Maylen. 

Active shooter training in Waukesha

"The first time I did this training, at new hire orientation, I went all black. My heart rate was probably 180," Maylen said. "Today, I was calm, cool and collected."

In the training, a deputy plays the role of a shooter – firing blanks at people pretending to be students. The shooter hides.

"We’re trained to see where everybody’s are – we tell everyone to put their hands up. If they don’t put their hands up that could be considered a threat," Maylen said.

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The fact that this training is being done in an old, unused school has significance after the shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

"We do that command and control training – so there is somebody there taking control and actually directing operations, so people aren’t sitting there waiting on what to do.  I know that’s a criticism of some of these responses," Severson said.

Active shooter training in Waukesha

Investigators say 400 officers were on the scene in Uvalde – and waiting more than an hour to confront the shooter. 19 students and two teachers died. 

Maylen said Tuesday's training in Waukesha helps deputies mentally prepare for chaos and courage. 

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"We all signed up for this job to protect and serve and if, God forbid, one of us gets hurt, I know all of us would do it especially for a child," Maylen said.

Waukesha County Sheriff's Department

FOX6 News asked the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office and the Kenosha County Sheriff's Department how often their deputies train for active shooter threats. Neither agency responded to emails.