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Counter-Terrorism Training Comes to Eau Claire

Written By: Jerry Hanson  |  Posted: Saturday, June 18th, 2011

          According to Eau Claire Deputy Chief of Patrol, Brad Venaas, during the first week of August, Eau Claire will host a Multi-Assault, Counter Terrorism Action Capabilities (MAC-TAC) training. For this purpose, The City Council of Eau Claire has authorized the City of Eau Claire Police Department to accept a tactical team training grant of $42,000 from the Office of Justice Assistance. Eau Claire County will also receive a grant for the same purpose of a little over $39,000. This is Federal money from the Department of Homeland Security given to the states for the purpose of standardizing the tactics used by local law-enforcement in response to any act of terrorism, whether from foreign Jihadists, or a domestic "active shooter." "Of the seven Regional Response Teams in the state of Wisconsin, Eau Claire has the facilities and outdoor range large enough to accommodate 30 students from around the state, and the instructors," said Deputy Venaas. According to the training materials, The heart of the MAC-TAC program is "fire and maneuver." It is described as "a blend of United States Marine Corps fire-team tactics and current police active shooter tactics." It was developed by the Los Angeles Police Department, under the oversight of a Deputy Chief Sandy Joe McArthur, in response to the Mumbai terrorist attack.

          Curious as to why Eau Claire law enforcement would need counter-terrorism training, I spoke with Sheriff Ron Cramer. He said it is not far-fetched to think of Eau Claire as a target of terrorism. For example he cited that many small towns in England have been the targets of terrorism. He also said that there is Intel and testimony from former Jihadists, that university campuses and cities large and small across the country are the targets of radical Muslim Jihadists. Sheriff Cramer also confirmed that this type of tactical training and military style equipment and firearms are useful in cases of domestic terrorism such as an active shooter holding hostages in a school. He also said that the basic "room clearing" skills that will be learned in this training, are military concepts that work.

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