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Milwaukee Area Officers Undergo In-Depth Domestic Violence Training

Marti Mikkelson

Law enforcement officers across Milwaukee County spent the past couple days learning how to better handle cases of domestic violence.

District Attorney John Chisholm says a federal grant provided money for the training. He says he sought the funding after a fatal shooting at the Azana Spa in Brookfield two years ago.

Radcliffe Haughton shot his estranged wife and two of her co-workers, before turning the gun on himself. The couple had lived in Brown Deer, where police had been called to the house two dozen times prior to the shootings. The department came under fire for failing to arrest Haughton.

Chisholm says the criminal justice system must learn from past mistakes.

“You can look at the experience of the Azana Spa. Maybe if we’d had the type of training that we’re undergoing right now, we might have been able to highlight that and intervene in a different way than in the past,” Chisholm says.

About 80 officers took part, at the Sheriff’s Training Facility in Franklin. St. Francis Police Chief Brian Kaebisch says his officers learned how to properly assess calls about domestic violence.

“How to handle these type of situations, what questions to ask, what information to obtain in order to make an assessment, and then try to get other resources involved, to get help for those who are in a situation that poses a threat to their safety,” Kaebisch says.

Kaebisch has been on the force for 25 years and says it’s unusual for officers to undergo two solid days of domestic violence training. Cudahy’s Police Chief Tom Poellet helped organize the workshop.

“The focus of today’s training is to address the most serious domestic violence issues, particularly intimate partner domestic violence homicide,” Poellet says.

Poellet says the problem continues to exist in his community and others. The officers who spent two days digging into best practices, will now take what they’ve learned back to colleagues.

Marti was a reporter with WUWM from 1999 to 2021.
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