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Feds, state, local law to land on Madeline Island
Madeline Island will be overrun by cops, deputies, wardens, the state patrol, feds, firefighters and emergency response teams Wednesday. Mike Simonson reports.
In all, 75 law enforcement and first responders will descend on Madeline Island and the Town of LaPointe. Town Administrator Pete Clark isn’t sure why they picked his place, but he says it could be a terrorist, drug dealer, anarchist, who knows drill. That’s perfect for his island.
“I think because it allows land, sea and air. (laughs) It’s bad guys in a house on an island. You know so I suppose it could be any of those things.”
Regional SWAT teams from Eau Claire, La Crosse and Superior, the National Park Service, Coast Guard, the National Guard, DNR, Wisconsin Emergency Management, several police, sheriff and fire departments will drill to combat what Eau Claire County Sheriff Lieutenant Rodney Stearns calls armed survivalists.
“This has gone back to way back in Posse Comitatus days back in the ‘70’s. This is people who don’t believe in government, don’t believe in law enforcement, don’t recognize law enforcement at all. (They) are self-contained and self-sufficient, battling laws that don’t pertain to them.”
Stearns says Madeline Island is unique and so is this exercise.
“Never been done before. I’ve done training missions that I’ve put teams together and we’ve trained by this manner. This one became complicated.”
Complicated on purpose. Stearns says the public shouldn’t even know they’re there and even each agency isn’t told how it’ll all go down.
“Making it fair, if you will, for both sides.”
Town Administrator Clark says it’ll make for an interesting few hours. “Yeah, I mean it’s never happened on Madeline Island.”
The operation begins at 9 a.m. and ends around 3 p.m. It includes beach and ferry landings and even a parachute drop.
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