Within 18 minutes of a “mutual aid” call going out, 16 members of the Westminster Police Department were in Boulder on Monday to assist local law enforcement to respond to an active …
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Within 18 minutes of a “mutual aid” call going out, 16 members of the Westminster Police Department were in Boulder on Monday to assist local law enforcement to respond to an active shooter inside a King Soopers.
There were 11 officers, a sergeant, a K-9 sergeant, a patrol commander, another sergeant operating an armored vehicle and two members of the public information office. The team helped the Boulder Police Department with whatever it needed to end the mass shooting that resulted in 10 deaths.
When the shooting started after 2:30 p.m., Boulder PD put out a call on a regional channel for assistance, drawing agents from Westminster, Jefferson County, Longmont, Lafayette, Golden and Denver, among others, said Trevor Materasso, a spokesperson for Westminster PD.
At the time, for Westminster PD, it was almost time for the evening swing shift to start for a team of officers who typically replaces the day shift team and who precedes the graveyard shift team. So, Westminster PD leadership asked day shift officers to stay late and called in graveyard shift officers early, so they could send the swing shift team to Boulder.
“You go into a very quick crisis mode. You can't send everybody, so we can't leave our city unprotected. But we can send several resources,” Materasso said.
The 11 officers and sergeant went to the King Soopers and helped with securing two sides of the building to check for a second shooter. At the time, there was confusion if there was more than one shooter. Law enforcement has arrested a suspect who they believe is solely responsible for the attack.
The K-9 unit sergeant was also on-site, ready to deploy his dog to check for explosives, although the dog wasn't ultimately needed. The sergeant driving the armored vehicle picked up a tactical team from other law enforcement agencies and brought them to the King Soopers entrance, where they deployed. The armored vehicle also transported another team operating drones. The patrol commander was at the command post to facilitate communication between Boulder PD officials and Westminster PD agents on the ground, Materasso described.
Some of the personnel Westminster PD sent were primarily there for communication. “When you have that many officers on scene and a chaotic event of that magnitude, the radio gets overwhelmed really, really quickly. So, you end up having to coordinate on multiple levels,” Materasso said.
The sergeant accompanying the 11 officers determined which information needed conveyance to superiors and how to do that, either through local radio, mutual aid channel radio, phone or text message. Many times, he was providing information to the Westminster PD patrol commander in the command post.
The K-9 unit sergeant and armored car sergeant also used radio, but also received instructions face-to-face from other commanders on the ground.
Meanwhile, the two public information officers assisted with acquiring and vetting information about the number of suspects and victims. On Monday evening, there was a period of time when law enforcement wasn't sharing many details. Materasso said that was because public information officers were still trying to confirm information.
“You try your best to make sure that that information is accurate,” Materasso added.
Both public information officers remain on the scene to help put information out to the public. One, Cheri Spottke, will remain on scene until the investigation is complete, likely several days from now. Boulder PD might even ask Spottke to assist the media liaison team for victims' families, Materasso said.
Eleven officers remained on the scene from Monday night into Tuesday morning to protect the crime scene. Westminster PD continues to send officers to Boulder and will do so until Boulder no longer needs additional assistance. Those who are responding are volunteering in their time off.
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