Madison Police warn lawmakers

Jon Byman

Madison Police warn lawmakers

CREATED Sep. 22, 2011

MADISON - Madison's Police Chief has sent a memo to state lawmakers in the wake of a beer throwing incident.  The memo asks lawmakers to call police whenever someone makes them feel unsafe.  It also includes tips for lawmakers in case they need to protect themselves.

Police Chief Noble Wray says lawmakers have not been calling police in Madison to report threats against them.  He says the first that his department heard about a protester who dumped a beer on a state lawmaker was after the beer throwing incident.

Lawmakers have said that they were well aware of the suspect in that case because he had been following them around.  "When we have someone that sounds like there was a pattern of behavior, we could have probably intervened if we had been made aware of what was taking place," Wray said.

The tips for lawmakers to protect themselves are scary.  The letter tells lawmakers:

•    If you are in an isolated area, consider by what means you could contact help. Carry a cell phone, keep it charged and leave it turned on. Know your location if you should need to describe it to a dispatcher during a crisis. 

•    Have a plan in case something bad does occur. Consider to where you could retreat or if there is an area in which you can secure yourself. (Typically called safe rooms or hide-in-place rooms.)

•    Be visible to as many people as possible.

•    Ask yourself – if something bad were to happen to me, who would know I was missing, when would they know it, would they know where to look, and do they know a description of my car?

•    Don’t overload yourself.  If you have to make more than one trip, do so.  Your hands are your first line of defense.  Keep them free.

Despite sending the memo, Wray says he doesn't think lawmakers are in anymore danger today than they were a year ago.  "Wisconsin has been the center of controversy in the last year nationwide.  But I don't think lawmakers or anyone else are in any more jeopardy or any more harm at this particular time," Wray said.

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