Capitol Area Police Mutual Aid Response (CAPMAR)

The Dane County Chiefs of Police Association (DCCOPA) is proud to announce the official activation of the Capitol Area Police Mutual Aid Response program (CAPMAR). CAPMAR is the first ever law enforcement multi-agency coordinated mutual-aid response program to be implemented in Dane County, consisting of 23 law enforcement agencies.

The DCCOPA first began talking about the possibility of creating such a program in the summer of 2013, and a special committee of Dane County police chiefs was formed to begin establishing the framework.

CAPMAR essentially functions under long-established mutual aid statutes. What distinguishes CAPMAR from the way we have done business in the past is the fact that emergency response is now much more systematic and coordinated, drawing assistance from numerous area agencies. This prevents any one department from having to deplete their resources to back up another, said previous Chief of Police, Craig Sherven, of the McFarland Police Department.

The Dane County 911 Center has incident cards for each police agency, and when a callout is initiated, they pull the card for the requesting department and begin dispatching units to the scene. This greatly simplifies things for the officers responding, as they no longer have to think about or specify where backup should be or is coming from. They simply notify the 911 Center of their needs, and a dispatcher will take care of the rest. The officers can simply focus on handling the situation

Unit Description

CAPMAR is designed with up to eight levels of response for each department. Each level represents 5 officers from area departments, allowing for a response of up to 40 officers to an incident should it be necessary. It can be used for a wide variety of incidents, ranging from a lost child to an active shooter situation. The program also prevents potential over-response to an incident, thereby maximizing efficiency in the delivery of police services.

A recent example of how CAPMAR would have been very beneficial is that of the Verona tornado in 2014. Chief Bernard Coughlin of the Verona Police Department states, "Having CAPMAR in place at the time of our response to the tornado damage would have allowed the incident commander, during the early stages of the incident, to request the necessary additional resources through one source. Instead, it was necessary for the incident commander to take extra time to contact a number of individual agencies in order to request the needed law enforcement resources."

Although the program framework was made available earlier than anticipated to supplement the City of Madison's response capabilities in late April and May, the program was officially activated and made available in its full capacity as of June 1.