March 14, 2018 – West Bend, WI – This past month we witnessed another mass shooting incident in the United States. The shooting again sparked much debate on the actions government should take to prevent a similar incident from ever occurring again.
While the February 14 incident occurred in a school, and most of the talk was centered around protecting our schools, I want to remind everyone that these tragic incidents have occurred at churches, businesses, shopping malls, and entertainment venues.
While I believe there is more that government can and should do to help prevent these incidents, my message this month is to encourage each of you to take actions to help us make this community safe.
First, where ever you go, always be aware of your surroundings. Know where you would go, to be safe, if a shooting or other assault occurred at the venue you are visiting. Know where the exits are and where you will go when you leave. Think of places you could secure yourself in the building. Most important, if you see someone or something that is out of place or suspicious, call police.
The West Bend Police Department has recently investigated a number of reports of individuals making statements, or writing statements on social media, that are either direct threats to the safety of students and others in the community, or are perceived as threats to someone’s safety. I want every student, parent and community member to know the West Bend Police Department takes all of these statements seriously and we immediately assign officers to investigate. I strongly encourage anyone that hears, or becomes aware of a threat, to immediately notify the Police Department. Do not assume someone else has reported the threat to police. Police want to be notified immediately of anyone making a statement or reference to shooting someone, bringing a gun to school, making a bomb, or injuring or harming multiple victims. As soon as you hear or become aware of a threat, call
9-1-1 or the West Bend Police Department non-emergency number at 335-5000.
In the majority of investigations we have done regarding these types of threats, police determined the person involved made the threat with the intent to upset particular individuals or a cause a disturbance at a given school or other location. In each of these cases police arrested the person involved for Disorderly Conduct and other appropriate statutes, including felony charges. Every citizen needs to know that if they make any threatening statement or reference, in person or on social media, that police will arrest them. I strongly encourage everyone to think before they make any statement or reference that they are going to shoot or injure someone. Police will investigate all those statements in person, in an e-mail, text, or other social media; and the person making the threat will be held accountable. We need to work together to ensure everyone is safe at schools, churches, work places, our parks, and the many places we all visit to enjoy in this community.
Thank you to all the citizens that have reported these incidents and for their cooperation with police during our investigations.
Stay safe, and I hope to see you in the community.
Kenneth J. Meuler, Chief of Police