Oak Creek (Wis.) PD's Officer Sam Lenda emphasized the importance of active-shooter training during a Monday presentation. Photo: Paul Clinton
The Oak Creek (Wis.) Police officer who helped end the Sikh Temple shooting rampage and his police chief urged their colleagues to provide their officers with the training and equipment needed to respond to active shooters at the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) show in San Diego.
The two men spoke as part of the panel "Preventing Violence Against the Police: Aiming for Zero" on Monday at the San Diego Convention Center.
"Our role is to make sure they have everything they need to get the job done," Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards told a packed conference room. "I don't care what size department you are. It's got to be within reason, but if they're asking for it, it's my job to argue for it."
Chief Edwards said his department was fairly well prepared for Aug. 5, when white supremacist Wade Michael Page entered a Sikh temple and shot multiple people. Page also shot Lt. Brian Murphy, the agency's first officer on the scene, 15 times.
Officer Sam Lenda was next to arrive, and fired a long range shot from his patrol rifle that helped end the rampage. Page committed suicide after he was struck by a round from Officer Lenda.
Officer Lenda, who also spoke Monday, said it was difficult for him to come across Lt. Murphy without immediately rendering aid. As the lead responding officer, Lenda's first priority was to neutralize the shooter.
"It's a testament to the training we receive," Officer Lenda said about the agency's effective response to the incident. "Believe in training. If you don't believe in it, your people will not believe in it."
Officer Lenda, an agency training officer, also said an officer-involved shooting earlier in his career helped him prepare.
"I did what I had to do as a law enforcement officer," Officer Lenda said. "I don't consider myself a hero. I know that any other officer that day put in my position would have done the same thing."
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