Trent explained negotiators’ first and most important duty is to keep everyone calm. To that end, it’s important for the lead negotiator to build rapport with the subject. The lead negotiator usually is the only person to speak with the subject.
For Lynchburg’s Crisis Negotiation Team, there is no such thing as a routine call.
Negotiators may be summoned to the top of a building to prevent a person from jumping or to a house where someone is barricaded inside with a weapon, putting himself — and innocent family members — in harm’s way, explained Lt. Randy Trent, a team leader for the unit.
Crises can be triggered by the loss of a job, fights with family members or mental illnesses, he continued. Some situations can be resolved in minutes. Others take hours.
The 17 officers of the Crisis Negotiation Team are called upon several times each year to help navigate these delicate situations.Within the past month, the team responded to Virginia Baptist Hospital after a subject barricaded himself inside a kitchen area and threatened to hurt himself, and to a house where an agitated man hid when officers came to serve a warrant.
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