Police, fire, EMS units ready to spring into action if swatting incidents escalated

Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 10:38 PM CDT
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Communities across Minnesota and the nation breathing a collective sigh of relief Wednesday, after swatting calls led to lockdowns at several schools. With one of these incidents taking place at Lourdes High School in Rochester, Olmsted County Sheriff Kevin Torgerson says many departments were ready to spring into action.

“Almost instantaneously,” Torgerson said. “As soon as it came across the radio that there was an active shooter at Lourdes High School, I was up grabbing my radio, going to talk to other command staff.”

Torgerson says the departments presiding over Rochester refer to their procedure in mass casualty events as “3-Echo.”

“The 3 E’s being Entry, Evaluate, and Evacuate,” Torgerson said. “When it comes to one of these types of events, having everybody on the same page, understanding what needs to be done, how we’re going to respond, is so important.”

This procedure includes Rochester Police Department, Rochester Fire Department, and Mayo Clinic Ambulance along with the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office. Public safety departments in neighboring counties have also teamed up in these trainings.

“If this were to happen in our district, we’d know who we’re working with,” said Kenyon-Wanamingo School District Superintendent Bryan Boysen.

In August, Kenyon-Wanamingo high school was the spot for a mass casualty training. Police, fire, and EMS units from all over Goodhue county all joined in and worked together. In the wake of Wednesday’s swatting incidents, Boysen says the training a month ago at his school was crucial in getting law enforcement and the district on the same page.

“Even though our district wasn’t directly involved with these fake calls, we were indirectly involved because of what we do,” Boysen said. “If I had not had that training back in August, I would be probably more worked up.”