MIDDLETON (WKOW) — The Middleton community had the chance to prepare for the worst, months after seeing it happen in their own backyard as the police department and Dane County Sheriff’s office teamed up for an active shooter training.
In September, a workplace shooting at WTS Paradigm injured four and left the shooter dead.
In the months since, many in Middleton, like Nancy Zuehlke have been wondering what if that happened to them.
“I work about two miles from there and it was more of a, what do you say closer to home type effect,” she said.
Zuehlke said training is something she’s thought about doing even before the shooting. But after, she said it felt far more urgent. That’s why she said she was one of the 300 people who signed up for Monday’s event.
“Cause I don’t want to be surprised or not thinking,” she said.
According to Middleton officer Kim Wood, that mental readiness is key. She led the event along with representatives from the sheriff’s office teaching strategies like “Run, Hide, Fight.”
“Giving people those tools in their toolbelts, so that if this ever does happen where they are that they’ll be prepared,” she said.
Most of those tools involve thinking ahead. Imagining in your head where your nearest exit or hiding place would be so that it comes to you in a moment of need.
Still, Wood said that’s only a start for those dealing with the trauma of September’s shooting.
“They themselves have their own healing process to go through that even I wouldn’t know where to begin,” she said.
That’s why Wood said they added a unique element to Monday’s training. A trauma specialist from the Dane County District Attorney’s Office joined them for the night. She offered those in attendance tools and strategies for dealing with the aftermath of a traumatic experience.
“The community itself, as a whole is broken per se,” Wood said. “And we really want to help everybody get back to a normal or a new normal.”
The main takeaway from the night Wood said she wanted people to have was simply having this conversation and thinking about what they may have to do in an emergency.
Zuehlke said that’s the message that stuck with her and that’s the message she’s sharing with friends and coworkers.
“Don’t be afraid,” she said. “Don’t have them be afraid, just be well aware of everything.”
More on this story at WKOW 27 News