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At 8:00 a.m., Kip Rustenburg and other trained negotiators were
just beginning to arrive at the prison
KR: When I first got there, they had all the resources coming in. I am used to being on Lake Patrol, and being called out for critical situations like prison or jail riots. So, I was standing around with my old friends, asking, “Hey, where am I supposed to go?” I wanted to get in on it.
Eventually, a gentleman from Department of Corrections (DOC) came out. At first, he was giving a briefing to the tactical guys. I said, “I’m a negotiator. Where am I supposed to go?” He found out. They had already started negotiations with the DOC negotiator.
JB: Had you done other hostage situations before?
KR: Yes, not a whole lot. I guess, maybe seven call outs. I’ve only been a negotiator for about a year and a half, so I’m fairly new to the negotiations area. It was an experience that I got more out of than I could have gained in a month long training school. It was incredible.
JB: When you got to the prison, how many people were there at that point?
KR: I think the Department of Public Safety (DPS) was there and several DOC negotiators. I’m guessing maybe five. Tom Davis from DPS was in charge of their negotiations. I introduced myself and went to work on a variety of projects. I wasn’t a primary negotiator at the time.
KR: People kept arriving and everybody was trying to get information about the structure of the command. The tactical team took over a large conference room. Command staff was in one room, we were in the office next to them. There was an empty office and the tactical guys were in the big room.
JB: Now, did you have much information in this early period?
KR: It kept coming in. The DOC has an intelligence officer, I guess they were sworn officers, so information was coming in as far as the background, the hostages, where they’ve been, the Corrections officers, it just kept piling in. We were starting everything from scratch, not knowing really how long we are going to be there.
JB: How did you get everything coordinated?
KR: It just happened. We communicated with each other. Let’s put this in this file, and everybody is doing this, and it’s just constant going back and forth, everybody pitching in and doing their own part. It was a little bit slow because there were so many different agencies there.
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Copyright © 2004, John D. Baker
Copyright © 2004, The Negotiator Magazine