Wauwatosa officials and emergency personnel have stepped forward in the wake of riots and destruction that erupted Aug. 14 after a Milwaukee police officer shot and killed an armed suspect on the city's north side.
According to various media reports, 23-year-old Sylville K. Smith was armed when he was shot to death by a 24-year-old police officer in a confrontation the afternoon of Aug. 14 near North 44th and West Auer streets in Milwaukee.
A handful of Milwaukee businesses were burned during the unrest, and the Wauwatosa Fire Department was just one of the responding agencies that helped put out the flames, said Assistant Chief Scott Erke.
Members from the department — up to 13 on Saturday — helped extinguish fires at a BMO Harris Bank branch, and other business fires throughout Milwaukee.
"We were there from 9, 10 o'clock (p.m.) Saturday until 5 o'clock a.m. Sunday," Erke said. He added Saturday, Aug. 14, was "the worst" day from the weekend. The windshield from one of the department's ladder trucks was broken that day while responding to the bank branch, although it's unclear exactly how.
None of the Wauwatosa first responders' safety was in jeopardy, Erke said and the Milwaukee Police Department did a "fantastic" job protecting those in the area.
"We're all working together," he said.
Erke said moving forward, Wauwatosa will continue to assist the city of Milwaukee with its emergency needs. The local fire department is part of a task force that monitors the city from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily.
Tosa police are prepared
The Wauwatosa Police Department has not yet provided assistance to Milwaukee for the violence that unfolded, said Lt. Brian Zalewski, but it is prepared in case things move west to Wauwatosa.
"We've been dealing with these protests for some time now," he said, referring to a string of protests that have taken place in Wauwatosa, mostly near Mayfair mall, in recent weeks. One protest began at the Wauwatosa Police Department before it migrated to the mall at 2500 N. Mayfair Road.
During the local protests, demonstrators demanded the release of dash cam video from a June 23 incident in which Jay Anderson Jr. was shot and killed by police at Madison Park. Few details have been released about the incident.
Zalewski said a number of extra patrols were placed at Wauwatosa businesses deemed "potential targets" over the weekend.
"We definitely have plans in place," he said.