The Office of Emergency Management's mission is the protection of lives and property through exacting communications to decision-makers, with the total coordination of resources, on-location and on-time, not only during a crisis but daily. OEM uses the “whole community” approach, meaning collaborative preparedness activities among public and private entities that are data-driven, thereby sustaining a local alliance of partners that offer unique contributions to resiliency.
Faithfulness to peers. Loyalty to leadership, to subordinates. Steadfast resistance to the temptation to renounce, desert or betray.
Compassion for peers, leaders and subordinates. Farming an agricultural grain, one at a time. Nurturing cordiality, decorum and mindfulness to one another.
Pledge to public safety. Steadfast pride in the execution of duties for officer protection, patient survival, uninterrupted communications and resiliency in public safety.
The Office of Emergency Management was commissioned on January 1, 2015, drawing together disparate operations from Milwaukee County’s Department of Health & Human Services, Office of the Sheriff and Information Management Services Department. County Executive Chris Abele appointed Christine Westrich as founding director of OEM; the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors confirmed her appointment on February 5, 2015.
OEM includes five program areas that coordinate public safety services, allowing for the fusion of data, assets, monies and staff to sustain healthy and productive localities within our County.
Christine Westrich, Director
The Director’s Office has a critical role in large-scale change, including directing collaborative preparedness activities that are data-driven and focused on multi-jurisdictional mutual aid while exploring the consolidation of public safety assets and data. As an appointed member of the County Executive’s Cabinet, the Director drives the goals of the entire department, while also supporting ongoing updates through County Ordinance adoption, Administrative Manual of Operating Procedures and various task forces, councils and boards, which create compliance and regulatory structure that ensure personal safety for all citizens.
911 Communications Division
Kinnyetta Patterson, Division Director
OEM’s 911 Communications Division is responsible for the prompt response and delivery of emergency services to 911 callers, serving as the Milwaukee County Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP); dispatching for the Sheriff’s Office and a number of other county departments; and transferring data received from EMS field providers to receiving hospitals to ensure optimal care immediately upon patient entry to the emergency department. Through the 911 Communications Division, OEM meets the statutory obligations of Milwaukee County Ordinance Chapter 91: Enhanced 911 Emergency Telephone Number System.
File an Open Records Request: Requests for public records maintained by Office of Emergency Management may be made in person at the Sheriff's Office, by U.S. mail, by phone or by email. File an Open Records Request.
Emergency Medical Services Division
Erik Viel, Interim Division Director
M. Riccardo Colella, DO, MPH, FACEP, Medical Director
The Emergency Medical Services Division is responsible for the continuing education and credentialing of approximately 500 active paramedics in the County EMS System; administering the protocols and standards of care delivered by those paramedics, under medical direction provided in partnership with the Medical College of Wisconsin’s Department of Emergency Medicine; ensuring quality by conducting non-punitive randomized checks and maintaining data repository that contains HIPAA-compliant patient care records; and delivering emergency medical care to attendees of the Milwaukee County Zoo, BMO Harris Bradley Center and UWM Panther Arena. Through its Emergency Medical Services Division, OEM meets the statutory obligations of Milwaukee County Ordinance Chapter 97: Emergency Medical Services.
Emergency Management Division
Christopher Miles, Division Director
The Emergency Management Division is responsible for the emergency management framework within Milwaukee County, enabling our communities to readily adapt to manmade and natural shocks and to collaborate across government and private entities. Specifically, this requires an in-depth exercise and drill regimen to ensure consistent preparedness across all levels of government. Through the Emergency Management Division, OEM meets the statutory obligations of Wisconsin State Statute Chapter 323 and Milwaukee County Ordinance Chapter 99: Emergency Activities of the Government of the County.