BROOKFIELD -- It has happened here, and it can happen here -- anywhere at any time. That's why it's so important to be prepared in the event of an active shooter situation.
Acting Milwaukee County Sheriff Richard Schmidt said he knows it's a difficult conversation to have, especially at church.
"Churches want to help people, not hurt people," Acting Sheriff Schmidt said.
But it's a conversation he believes is necessary in today's climate.
"What's your plan in case something goes bad? What's the plan if an active shooter shows up? What are you going to do?" Schmidt said.
The Brookfield-based Applied Tactical Training Academy held a full-day seminar on Thursday, Jan. 25 at Brookside Baptist Church. It was open to the public, with a variety of speakers discussing ways civilians can prepare for and respond to a violent event.
"The main thing is that people understand that these events continue to increase in frequency and lethality," Brian Zalewski, instructor at ATTA, and Wauwatosa police captain said.
Zalewski knows that all too well. He was one of the first responders on the scene of the Azana Salon shooting in 2012.
"This is real. It happened here. It can happen here -- so people really need to understand it and be prepared for it," Zalewski said.
Zalewski said if you can't escape a situation, you should barricade yourself in a room, and if necessary, use everyday items to give yourself a fighting chance.
"Chairs, tables, staplers, computers, cords, pens. Anything that you can use as an improvised weapon. Anything you can use to distract a potential shooter," Zalewski said.
Acting Sheriff Schmidt stressed again the need for a plan. He's actually a member of Brookside Baptist, a place that practices what he preaches.
"We have a very robust plan here. I'll say this -- I don't run it. I'm not in charge of it, but I know what it is, and folks, this is the wrong church to pick on," Schmidt said.
Applied Tactical Training Academy plans to host more of these public seminars in the future. CLICK HERE to learn more.