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Preparing for the worst
Public service agencies hold a mock UWPlatteville shooting
drill FD
The Platteville and Cuba City fire departments and Platteville, Belmont, Hazel Green and Potosi EMS assisted in the drill.

Four people were shot on the UW–Platteville campus Monday, Aug. 6 by a man who later died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The shootings were simulated as part of an exercise conducted by UW–Platteville police, along with Platteville police, two fire departments and four EMS services. The shootings took place at Ullrich Hall, while the victims were treated at Southwest Health Center.

The exercise was led by UW–Platteville police. According to state law, UW police have primary jurisdiction on UW System campuses. Sgt. Jason Williams conducted the exercise.

“This is the first time in several years we’ve done it on campus,” said UWP Police Chief Scott Marquardt. “We haven’t done one on campus for a very long time. We’d like to do them more frequently, with live participants every couple years if we can. The more we get to practice, the better we get at the concepts.”

The exercise was planned back in March, before the mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., July 20, and the previous day’s shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek.

The shots were simulated by an MP3 on Marquardt’s cellphone. “Especially in light of recent events, we’re really careful about that,” he said.

College public safety officials have focused on dealing with on-campus shootings for years. On April 2, seven people were shot to death on the campus of Oikos University in Oakland, Calif. Thirty-two people were shot to death at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 2007.

UW–Platteville has had two on-campus shooting incidents. UWP student Kathleen Moan, 20, was shot to death in the Student Center snack bar in what now is Ullsvik Hall Dec. 8, 1964. A woman shot herself to death on campus March 20, 1995.

In Monday’s exercise, four victims were shot before the shooter shot himself. Victims were evacuated to a triage tent before they were taken to the hospital by Platteville, Belmont, Potosi or Hazel Green EMS.

The EMS services dealt with five additional cases — a firefighter who had a heart attack, another firefighter who had heat exhaustion, a 32-weeks-pregnant woman who fell on her stomach while escaping from the building, another person who fell and suffered a broken arm, and a person who suffered a flare-up of asthma.

“We intentionally did it so it wouldn’t be too complicated,” said Marquardt.

While victims were being evacuated, two Platteville police officers cleared the building for potential additional shooters. In one case, a man who came out of a bathroom was stopped and frisked by the officers.

Some of the victims and bystanders were Southwest Wisconsin Technical College Summer Police Academy students.

The next day, chiefs of the participating agencies conducted a debriefing on how the exercise went.

“I thought it went really well,” said Marquardt. “I admit it didn’t go perfectly, but we learned a lot, and that’s what exercises are for.”

Marquardt said areas the exercise showed needed improvement included “improving communications between emergency agencies,” “getting the message out to the campus community more quickly if there were to be an emergency on campus,” and “how to manage a crisis at the university level.”