Patrol officers, DNR wardens train for ice rescues as weather warms

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) — Warming temperatures have emergency crews worried. Ice rescue experts say the thaw season is approaching, and there is already evidence on Lake Michigan. This weekend, rescue crews trained in Lake Michigan — learning how to save a life in icy water.

Off the shore of Lake Michigan in Milwaukee, members of this training mission suited up for the first time.

“The longer someone is in the water, the less chance for survival they have. The whole idea is to get the resources to the scene as quickly as possible,” Officer Toby Golembiewski said.

Officer Golembiewski led the class — one that is normally reserved for members of the Milwaukee Police Department’s Marine Operations Unit.

For the first time, patrol officers from District One got the training. Two wardens from the Department of Natural Resources took the class as well.

“We thought that having more people, even to back us up, cause we are all about backing each other up, would be a good idea to start training in the ice rescue process,” Officer Golembiewski said.

Kaitlin Kenrosky has been a DNR warden for just a year. After the day-long training session, she would be certified.

The class was shown a variety of ways used to get people out of the water, while staying safe.

“If they are going to venture out on the ice, be extremely careful near shore, because that water warms up faster and it thaws quicker,” Officer Golembiewski said.

The Coast Guard and the Milwaukee Fire Department also trained in ice rescue on Milwaukee’s Lakefront.

The Milwaukee Police Department hopes to expand training to other officers in the future.