SPFD, Sheriff Conduct Joint Hostage Training
By Brandi Makuski
Deb Tork spent most of Wednesday morning dead. Well, sort of.
Tork was among about ten civilians who played the part of an injured or killed hostage during a joint training event held by the Portage Co. Sheriff’s Office Special Response Team (SRT) and Stevens Point Fire and EMS crews.
The event, held Wednesday morning at the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) building, 5516 Vern Holmes Drive, supposed that two armed men had entered the building and took hostages. During the “conflict”, one officer and nine civilians had been assigned roles as being an injured victim or killed during the standoff.
SPFD Chief Bob Finn said the training event involved identifying injuries, triage and mock transportation to medical facilities.
Ambulance and fire trucks, along with SRT command center vehicles, were stationed in nearby parking lots. Hostage negotiators were on the scene as well, practicing communication tactics.
The SRT also deployed its Multi-Terrain Vehicle (MTV) and coordinated with Ministry St. Michael’s hospital, organizing communication and protocols as though hostages had actually been injured.
Using unloaded weapons- many of them plastic- the SRT methodically cleared each room, locating and identifying hostages, bad guys and injuries along the way. The training event involved about 30 men and women from SPFD and the Sheriff’s Office, as well as about a dozen WIAA employees.
Tork said she was “impressed” with how well coordinated the training event was.
“It’s pretty exciting being a part of this,” said Tork, a controller with WIAA. “I’m so, so impressed with everything they’re doing here.”
Finn said additional training exercises with the Sheriff’s Office, as well as Plover and Stevens Point police departments, would take place throughout the spring and summer months.