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“They can happen anywhere:” Wisconsin officials prepared, trained for active shooter situations

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PEWAUKEE -- It was a chaotic and heartbreaking scene at Oregon's Umpqua Community College on Thursday, October 1st -- 13 people were killed and 20 others were injured when a gunman stormed the campus, armed with an automatic weapon. FOX6 News spoke with a local expert about how officials with Wisconsin's schools prepare to respond to an active shooter.

They're scenes of horror that are becoming all too familiar.

Brian Dorow

Brian Dorow

"We've seen them happen at colleges, high schools, shopping centers, movie theaters, churches, public places, open venues -- they can happen anywhere," said Brian Dorow, dean of criminal justice and homeland security at Waukesha County Technical College.

It's the 911 call that no law enforcer wants to receive, yet they have to be equipped to handle active shooter situations if and when they happen.

"This is an active shooter, the active assailant training. We train all of our law enforcement officers in this region," said Dorow.

Umpqua Community College shooting

Umpqua Community College shooting

Dorow says step number one when officers arrive on scene is to hunt down the suspect.

"They go to the sound of screaming. They go to the sound of wherever they're getting clues to wherever that suspect may be. At that point they mitigate the suspect," said Dorow.

Dorow says the scene then becomes an active investigation and first responders rush to help victims.

"It's a large, usually very chaotic situation,"said Dorow.

Authorities were "responding to reports of an active shooter" Thursday morning at the campus of Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, a sheriff's spokesman said.

Authorities were "responding to reports of an active shooter" Thursday morning at the campus of Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, a sheriff's spokesman said.

Photo show officers were on site to respond to the shooting at Umpqua Community College.  This photo was taken today by student, Noel Crowner who had just returned to school this week.

Shooting at Umpqua Community College

While society has not yet been able to completely prevent these incidents from happening, Dorow says we are learning from them. In years past, law enforcement officials would focus on setting up a perimeter and trying to negotiate with a shooter.

Now, there's a focus on rapid response and subduing the suspect.

"Find out where the suspect is actively, you know, perpetuating this crime, this heinous crime and stop them immediately," said Dorow.

Dorow says in spite of how frequently we seem to see situations like this, he urges the public to not become complacent. He also suggests being aware of your surroundings and if you learn of something suspicious, tell police immediately.

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