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JB: And youíre handling all this. Now, patience was the game plan that was overriding, right?
JB: How did you make those calls? Did you get together and say Iím hearing Ö.? Do you ever say things like that?
KR: Yes, after each call. We all talked about how each call went, what our thoughts were and even single words.
Final negotiations for surrender and hostage release
Wassenaar asked to negotiate the final surrender terms with Phoenix Police Department negotiator Bob Ragsdale who had conducted some of the earlier negotiations. It proved to be far more complex matter than one might have imagined. Wassenaar demanded that power be restored to the tower facility, a tape of his former wife be played, a telephone call with his sister be completed and that fresh clothing and a final dinner be delivered. The dinner was to include T-bone steaks, baked potatoes, soft drinks and a twelve-pack of Heineken beer. It was a show-stopper demand.
JB: One of the rules of hostage negotiating is that you never trade liquor for anything. You folks had to make a call when they asked for beer for the last supper. You bargained down from 12 to 6 and finally to two beers. It was a difficult situation, but I think that was a terrific trade.
KR: Yes, for a hostage. In negotiations 101 you donít do that, but this wasnít a typical situation. The choice was to stick by the rule and have this officer come out in a bag or go out on a limb and take a chance. Sometimes taking a chance is the way to go and I think that it paid off.
JB: Was it also a question of trust?
KR: The main thing that prisoners pride themselves on is integrity. Itís relative. Trust and respect are huge things. Each time a negotiator came on, if they waffled in their words or something happened that he didnít trust them it was a set-back. I had to build on trust and it took me a lot to build it. I said, hey, I know youíre a man of your word. Iím going to be square and he respected that position.
JB: So is that the most important thing, the key?
KR: I donít know if one specific thing is the most important thing, but it is a key factor, absolutely.
JB: What else is a key factor?
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Copyright © 2004, John D. Baker
Copyright © 2004, The Negotiator Magazine