Local law enforcement: Relationship between local departments is unique

Published: Mar. 19, 2018 at 3:50 PM CDT
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Law enforcement leaders in central Wisconsin say they never let the boundaries of their jurisdictions hinder their efforts in responding to calls for service. That includes their response to the March 22 shootings.

NewsChannel 7 sat down with Marathon County Sheriff Scott Parks, Everest Metro Police Chief Clay Clay Schulz and Wausau Police chief Ben Bliven. These three departments work closely together-- day in and day out, and share a unique relationship that is not necessarily the case in other parts of the state.

"When an incident like this happens, because we train together, because we work together on a daily basis, we know how each other is going to respond and it just helps the incident progress." Everest Metro Police Chief Clay Shulz said. "I think we all understand each others roles and we don't have those barriers to overcome in a time of crisis."

"That relationship Clay talked about is very strong," Wausau Police Chief Ben Bliven said. "It's a really strong bond within Marathon County and he's absolutely right that it's unique. We are so lucky to have good relationships throughout our organization."

All three departments share some units and squads and even train together as departments. That means the majority of their officers know each other. They say their strong relationships and well rehearsed training sessions made the all the difference when they were called to respond to the March 22 shootings. Everyone knew their place and everyone knew what to expect.

“So knowing each other, and training together and putting aside any egos that we would have, it didn't matter what your rank was that day or what color uniform you wore. It was clear that we were all there to do whatever we needed to do to get the incident to a resolution,” Chief Schulz explained.

Sheriff Parks agreed.

“Not only do we train locally with these individuals, but we train regionally, with teams from Oneida C County, Lincoln County, Langlade County and when those teams came in to that particular incident that day, they were melded, or molded right into the incident.... seamless,” Parks said.

The Association of SWAT Personnel Wisconsin recognized those three counties as 2017 Teams of the Year for their response to the March 22 shootings.