Olmsted County, Responding to Lockdowns

Posted at: 04/19/2013 10:38 PM
Updated at: 04/19/2013 10:42 PM
By: Steph Crock

(ABC 6 News) – The city of Watertown was in lockdown Friday as thousands of officials searched for the only living suspect for most of the day. We asked emergency officials in Rochester, to see how parameters for lockdowns are formed for something like this.

Rochester Police had to shut down part of Broadway Avenue North , evacuate an apartment building, and block of the area as they searched for someone who they suspected to be armed and suicidal. Of course, this is nothing compared to the Boston manhunt, but it shows how they're trained to react to any threat.

Many of us were glued to the TV, watching the events of Friday’s search in Massachusetts unfold, imagining if we were those in Watertown.

"I can’t imagine what they're going through. To be stuck in and locked down and no…I mean, that's hard," said Marann Faget. She got a small glimpse of that Wednesday night. She was sewing at her store, when she heard a commotion. "I was sitting by myself afraid," said Faget.

Seven blocks of North Broadway blocked off for a standoff, her store was right next door. This was for a man who was making suicidal threats. We asked area officials why they took such measures in this case.

"Depending on what kind of weapons they have, whether it be assault rifles or bombs, we have to take what we know and then make the perimeter big enough to keep the general public safe," said Mike Bromberg with Olmsted County Emergency Management.

How do they decide where to begin and what to block off? "You try to get as much information as you can from as many sources as fast as you can and make that decision," said Bromberg.

Generally starting wide, as they did in Watertown, and narrowing in on the suspect with police covering the perimeter. “Nine city buses full of city officers ( in Watertown), We don’t have 9 buses worth of city officers to bring," said Bromberg.
Though, if something of that magnitude were to happen here. "We call in the state patrol, Dodge County, Freeborn County, if it went as far reaching as something as big as this we’d be getting officers out of the metro area and places like that," said Bromberg.

Though the standoff in Rochester did not call for that, Faget says she felt safe knowing they took the incident outside her door very seriously. "I think they handled it very well because it was very quick apparently, the response that they gave," said Faget.

In the standoff in Rochester the suspect had been taken in but there will likely not be any criminal charges because the threats were only to himself.