Multiple law enforcement agencies flood Madeline Island for training exercise

By KBJR News 1

July 24, 2014 Updated Jul 24, 2014 at 2:38 PM CDT

La Pointe, WI (NNCNOW.com) -- Any coordinated tactical response from law enforcement has its challenges, but those challenges multiply when the event is surrounded by water.

That's why Madeline Island was the sight of a drill to help prepare for such an event.

About 75 personal from various law enforcement agencies across Wisconsin were part of a one of a kind training exercise on Wednesday.

"It's pretty exciting. I mean, that's not a normal afternoon on the Coast of Lake Superior," said Burke Henry after he watched his home be invaded by law enforcement.

The mock mission was to take down fictitious suspects at Henry's home who were transporting illegal materials to the island.

"We volunteered our property because I knew the importance of having a training, a multi–group training, that would bring together all different kinds of emergency services people in a real exercise," said Burke.

Agencies ranged from the Federal level, such as the Coast Guard to municipal agencies like the Bayfield and La Pointe fire and police departments.

"It's a great opportunity for them to get training in an area they normally wouldn't have," said Bayfield Police Chief, John Fangman.

The fake suspects were approached from the air, ground and water to see what mode of transportation would work the best in any given situation.

"You push them outside that comfort zone, you make it difficult for them," said Lt. Rodney Stearns with the Eau Claire County Sheriff's Office.

"You use a variety of different things they have never done before. Going to an island, that has never been done before, and then you throw all kids of loops in it to see if they can over come each and every one of those." said Lt. Stearns who lead the mission.

Most importantly the training exercise was a way for each of the agency's to learn more about what they can improve on for when they have to do it for real

"Training isn't about making it perfect so everything works out. Training is about making it so they can learn something from it," said Lt. Stearns.

It took nine months to plan for the training exercise. Other agencies involved included Wisconsin Emergency Management, the DNR and the Army National Guard.

Posted to the web by Kati Anderson.