Greendale Police Helped in Oak Creek After Sunday Shooting
Greendale is one of many agencies that participate in the Suburban Mutual Assistance Response Teams set up to handle situations like the shooting at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin.
About 200 officers from throughout southeastern Wisconsin came to Oak Creek to help after the mass shooting Sunday at a Sikh temple.
When Oak Creek learned of the situation — where Wade Michael Page opened fire and killed six people gathered for morning services at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin — it sent officers to the scene, but also sent out a call to agencies in the Suburban Mutual Assistance Response Team.
Page had been shot and killed by police at the scene, but the situation was chaotic. Six were dead and three injured, including the Oak Creek police lieutenant who was first on the scene. People were hiding inside the temple, there were initial reports of multiple gunmen, and there was a large area that needed to be searched.
Oak Creek needed a lot of assistance, and agencies from all over the area responded, including Greendale. Assisting officers helped with the incident, which is being classified as domestic terrorism — the use of violence for social or political reasons.
“Due to the high level of the SMART call, and the nature of the call, we all knew they were going to need help,” said Greendale Police Chief Bob Malasuk.
SWAT personnel, bomb technicians from the Milwaukee Police Department and the Milwaukee County Sheriff, and investigators from several agencies were on site to help.
Greendale police officers were around the perimeter guarding the area and helping people locate their family members, Malasuk said. Officers stayed with the people who were in the temple during the shooting until they had been interviewed. No one was allowed in the secured area, so officers escorted people to their cars and to meet family members.
SMART officers helped conduct a grid search of over three square miles.
Officers also helped by going door-to-door to check for anyone who may have been injured by a stray bullet and to notify residents the event was over. More than 200 residents were contacted.
Even though the incident has ended, SMART is still providing aid, Malasuk said.
“There are officers or investigators doing background investigations, and following up any information that is gathered during the investigation, autopsies, hospitals, etc,” Malasuk said. “This investigation will go on for a long time.”
SMART plans for major events and practices as a group to respond when incidents like the Sikh temple shooting happen. All the assisting agencies work from the same training and off the same plan, so they can quickly join together in whatever way is needed.
All the members of the SMART organization in Southeastern Wisconsin attend regular meetings, and participate in regular training and practice calls. The fire service has a mutual aid agreement also.
“We do this as a group so we can be prepared for actual emergencies,” Malasuk said.