Officers Train for Hostage Negotiation Situations in Clarinda

CLARINDA, Iowa -- If you were near Clarinda on Tuesday, there was a heavy police presence. It was not a case of an escaped inmate but rather training in case it ever happens.

“We`re conducting tactical training scenarios in conjunction with our hostage negotiations and our tactical teams as they work through hostage situations,” said Doug Bolton with the Iowa Department of Corrections.

The Iowa Department of Corrections partnered with state troopers to train together on what happens if there is a prisoner escape and a hostage taken.

“Our hostage negotiators are conducting the crisis mitigation and trying to find a peaceful resolution,” said Bolton.

The training situations included some high-stress activities.

"Whenever you`re having that hand-to-hand engagement, the threat increases exponentially," said Bolton.

The big issue in hostage negotiation is calming a tense situation. Escapees can have strange requests. During their training sessions, one person just wanted a water bottle. Another asked for a helicopter and half a million dollars to escape.

"[We try] to establish a rapport with them to reduce and lighten the mood to reduce the threat level,” said Bolton.

Fortunately, an escaped inmate taking a hostage is a rare in Iowa. The officers said they want to be ready just in case they are needed.

The training continues until Friday. The officers will work on dealing with riots on Wednesday.

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