Wisconsin’s commitment to enhancing its counter-terrorist program will receive another boost this week as several domestic security sessions are scheduled throughout the state.

Attorney General Jim Doyle announced that several anti-terrorist training sessions would take place over the next several weeks; the first will be held Wednesday in Madison. Other cities holding local training sessions include Milwaukee, La Crosse, Eau Claire, Green Bay and Wausau.

Doyle said these sessions are primarily to help local law-enforcement agencies increase their effectiveness in dealing with terrorism.

“Law enforcement in Wisconsin has expressed a need for additional training on how to deal with terrorist activity or threats,” Doyle said. “The training sessions are designed to provide them with the additional tools they need to protect the citizens who live in their communities.”

The training sessions were decided upon as a result of a Domestic Security Summit convened by Doyle last month. The summit examined how the various law-enforcement agencies can better deal with potential terrorist threats within Wisconsin.

Randy Romanski, a spokesperson for Doyle, said many agencies would be involved if an incident occurred, so the additional training is vital in preparing a coordinated response.

“It is clear that cooperation and information sharing are critical elements in combating terrorism,” he said.

Romanski said the State’s Crime and Hygiene Labs would participate by discussing responses to a biohazard threat. The meetings will also include a discussion about some of the legal questions surrounding counter-terrorism activities.

Romanski said these sessions will show local agencies how to use available state resources.

“We will identify the additional resources the Department of Criminal Justice can provide,” Romanski said. “We will also discuss the intelligence center the attorney general is working to create within the Department of Criminal Investigation.”

In addition to the regional sessions, Doyle is also holding a three-day domestic security session at the Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton on January 23-25.

Doyle stressed the importance of training sessions in the state’s overall mission to increase security.

“Law enforcement, fire fighters, emergency medical personnel and health-care providers must all work together on the front lines during tragic events,” Doyle said. “This session will provide vitally important training on intelligence gathering, emergency preparedness plans, cross-disciplinary approaches for managing incidents involving biohazards and critical incident debriefing for victims.”

Romanski said the January event will involve a much broader range of people than the local sessions, and some of the larger issues of counter-terrorism will be addressed.

“It will be a large, cross-disciplinary training session,” Romanski said. “We have already had a lot of interest in the event, and we are attempting to have all people who would respond to the incidents take part in this training.”
While these meetings are only one step in the state’s overall anti-terrorist strategy, Romanski said training sessions such as this will enable law enforcement to act quickly to any threat.
“We’re deciding how to construct an immediate response, and improve our prevention measures at the front end,” he said.