Police Negotiators Put in the Middle of Hostage Crisis Drill

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DES MOINES, Iowa  --  Representatives from law enforcement agencies across Iowa and Illinois were in Des Moines today for a long, stressful day of training for the worst case scenario.

Officers took part in an eight hour crisis negotiation drill at Principal Park.  The simulation was based on a real-life event that happened at a correction facility.  Officers were on the phone on the other end of a hostage crisis trying to bring it to a peaceful end.

Officer Tim Fricke with the Des Moines Police Department says their job isn't about taking down a bad guy.  More often negotiators are helping someone suffering from severe mental or emotional issues.  That means officers have to be as much counselor as they are cop.

"Sometimes the longest hour for someone is only a couple of minutes," says Fricke, "So if we can extend, if we can talk someone through a minute maybe we can work on two minutes and so on and so on until we can resolve those issues."

Fricke says the training today can be invaluable for smaller departments that may not get much real world experience in negotiation.