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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • RPD trains for hostage situations

  • The Church of the Nazarene on East 10th Street in Rolla was surrounded Tuesday. Members of the Rolla Police Department SWAT team had their semi-automatic rifles scoped-in on every exit of the church. Inside, an angry husband armed with a pistol had his wife and the church pastor held up. Thankfully, this was just a training scenario put on by the Rolla Police Department (RPD) earlier this week.
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  • The Church of the Nazarene on East 10th Street in Rolla was surrounded Tuesday. Members of the Rolla Police Department SWAT team had their semi-automatic rifles scoped-in on every exit of the church. Inside, an angry husband armed with a pistol had his wife and the church pastor held up.
    Thankfully, this was just a training scenario put on by the Rolla Police Department (RPD) earlier this week.
    "We have trained on these hostage negotiation situations before but never with a multi-agency training setup like this," said RPD Capt. Jason Smith.
    While the SWAT team covered the church, a quarter of a mile away was the incident command post, where officers mapped out what actions to take in this life-threatening situation.
    RPD Detective Derrick Dillon, who was staged inside the Rolla Homeland Security trailer, eventually made contact via a cellphone with the irate husband.
    "Who am I talking to?” asked Dillon. "It sounds like you are going through some really tough times."
    The scenario was that a husband and wife went to a counseling session with their pastor. The husband found out his wife became pregnant while he was in prison. The husband’s hope was to discover who got his wife pregnant. When this didn't happen, he became enraged and took the pastor and his wife hostage.
    The scenario was devised by retired Phelps County Sheriff's Department Detective Andy Davis.
    "This was based loosely on a real situation that took place in California," said Davis who served in law enforcement for more than 35 years.
    Today, he runs a negotiating training consulting company that works with law enforcement agencies across the nation.
    As Dillon tried to calm the suspect down, Davis explained that these dangerous situations, in many ways, follow a script.
    "It is usually someone who is angry and not in a normal mindset. Things they often demand are cigarettes, money and even a getaway car," explained Davis. "This is their last-shining moment and they want to be in charge."
    Davis added that negotiators walk a fine line in giving in or not to the hostage taker.
    "It is often a cat-and-mouse game," he said.
    In this scenario at the church, the suspect wanted Fruit Loops and beer, which he eventually got.
    After close to two hours of working with the suspect, it all ended peacefully. The negotiation team was able to walk the suspect out of the building safely and neither of the hostages were hurt.
    According to RPD Chief Mark Kearse, the day was a success.
    "I was very pleased with today’s training. Everyone did an outstanding and professional job."

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