Madison area officials discuss public safety following Highland Park shooting

Another shooting, this one in Highland Park, Illinois, during a 4th of July parade, is the latest in a year marred by gun violence.
Updated: Jul. 5, 2022 at 10:20 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Another shooting, this one in Highland Park, Illinois, during a 4th of July parade, is the latest in a year marred by gun violence. Officials across the Madison area say training and tech are how they are trying to stay ahead of the violence sweeping the country.

“This is not the time in policing to back up off of public safety; this is not the time to downsize,” said Madison Police Chief Shon Barnes.

Police in Madison say they constantly update and adjust training, trying to use events like the one in Highland Park as a way to learn and try and stay better prepared for whatever scenario may occur. And gun violence across the country is continuing to become more common. According to Gun Violence Archive, 319 mass shootings (the archive qualifies anything with four or more victims excluding the shooter as a mass shooting) have already been recorded in just 186 days this year. It is on pace to nearly triple mass shootings in 2014, the first year reported by the archive.

“And we have to adapt and improve our tactics and our response and training with respect for how we organize and plan for these events,” said Monona Police Chief Brian Chaney.

Chief Chaney says training and how the department plans security for events, using technology like drones and social media monitoring to maximize personnel. But it is not just police constantly updating and perfecting training for events like parades and fairs. Monona Fire Chief Jeremy McMullen says full-time and volunteer staff is trained for every scenario, noting more officials directing people should the worst happens crucial.

“So if something, like God forbid, Highland Park happens here, we already know how we’re going to respond to that,” said Chief McMullen.

And Chief Barnes noted the added benefit of officers at events assuring attendees.

“They know that the purpose if anyone was to try and harm someone, we’d put ourselves in harm’s way, in order to prevent that from happening,” said Barnes.

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