Sauk Co. bus drivers equipped with active violence training

SAUK COUNTY, Wis. (WMTV) -- Sauk County received a new kind of violence training, specially designed for bus drivers.

Bus drivers practice responding to potential threats at varying levels.

More than 70 bus drivers from across the county participated in active violence drills, which anticipate situations like a suspicious person at a bus stop.

Faced with different potential threats, drivers were instructed by Travis Hilliard, a Sauk Prairie police officer, to “drive up and assess the situation. Pick up [the kids] if you want," he said.

This kind of drill is a first for bus drivers in the county. But Hilliard said variations of today’s drill had been done in the past.

It could also compare to a fire drill, according to Jeff Jelinek, the Sauk County emergency management director.

“We all know what to do if there’s a fire alarm. We know what to do if we start a fire,” Jelinek said. “But what do we do in an active, ongoing, violent situation?”

The answer, Jelinek said, is to do something.

Especially in a rural area, Jelinek said that it is crucial for drivers to know how to react to any potential danger. “There are times when they’re out in the middle of nowhere. They can’t talk to anybody. They can’t call for help,” he said.

This is when “doing something,” the key lesson for Jelinek, is crucial. The action is a response to an awareness of the environment at all times.