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Negotiators in SETX prepared for crisis - 12 News KBMT and K-JAC. News, Weather and Sports for SE Texas

Negotiators in SETX prepared for crisis

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Negotiators were able to talk Ron Haskell into surrendering after a three-hour standoff between police and the man responsible for killing six family members and critically injuring a seventh in Spring,

12News found out that three teams would be ready with their skills if a similar standoff were to arise in Southeast Texas.

Jefferson County has hostage negotiation teams that work alongside SWAT teams in Beaumont, Port Arthur and Mid-County.

Police say in the art of negotiating a detective must learn the identity of the armed individual, what they want and what it will take to achieve a peaceful outcome, all while ensuring safety for those around them.  That is why police consider negotiation the most important aspect of any crisis.

Two members of the Port Arthur Hostage Negotiations Team, the commander Officer Kirk Frederick and team leader Detective Marcelo Molfino, said whether it's talking someone off of a bridge or dealing with an armed individual, it all begins with a conversation.

"Maybe I can relate to him get his mind off the situation that has gotten him to the point of holding himself hostage," Frederick said.

“A lot of times they just want to talk because they feel no one is listening to them or it's too bad or too late," Molfino said.

Those conversations are made possible through tools like the "throw phone," that officers and the SWAT team can throw to an armed subject and then use to communicate with them.

The equipment is for safety but they say the real support comes from working together.

"It's not just me it's a team that helps get the situation done," Frederick said.

Police say there are also rules negotiating teams must follow: a negotiator should never lie, should avoid controversial subjects and it’s important to have a negotiator who has something in common with the suspect and who can talk about the individual's interests.

Some are asking why police wouldn't just go ahead and kill a man responsible for so much heartbreak, but they say there's a reason they can't.

"It is hard to talk to someone who is a bad person or who has done a horrible egregious act but that's where you're training and professionalism comes in and you do the right thing regardless of who you're talking to," Molfino said.


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