Special training helps police negotiators diffuse dangerous situations

Just like in the movies, police have hostage negotiators just in case. Those hostage negotiators undergo special training so they are ready in case of emergency. "What we want to do is steer away from those facts, those pieces that they're interested in," said Det. Russell Haake of the WSP Crisis Negotiation Team. "We want to get them on good topics. topics that are important to them, topics that make them happy." Training excerises help hone the special skills required of negotiators like Haake. "One of the things that we like to do when we go into situations like that is talk to family, talk to friends, talk to people who know the person so we can get an idea of where they're at," said Haake.

There are seven negotiators embedded with the 30 member SWAT team. "In years past, negotiators were a separate component from SWAT, but we see the value in having trained negotiators on scene during any event that SWAT is involved in," said WSP Swat Commander Lt. Ron Mead. "We look for people who are comfortable talking to people, people who are good listeners, people who are good interviewers, a number of people on our team are detectives and have a lot of years of investigations, and that's important because they listen to people," Haake said. Sometimes that means trying different negotiators until one finally connects to the person in crisis. 'It's huge to have that rapport with people, but it's also equally as important after the negotiation, that we meet that person and talk to that person -- let them know that we're human too," he said.