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JB: Stress, then you have to go back. That has to be hard.
KR: It isnít fun. But even after it was over, youíre living on adrenalin.
JB: What do you do?
KR: Focus on your family, people who are important to you, your normal life. It took some time for me. A few days. I guess in the long run, other situations level up here. Youíre performing at your best because of the urgency of the situation. Afterwards, you kind of have to wind-down.
JB: Through each day, there were times that negotiations fell apart between negotiators and the hostage holders. They discovered there were bugs in the radio and other surprises such as a hole cut in the fence by the tactical unit. If youíre doing anything as youíre going through this, itís trying to build trust, isnít that correct?
KR: Thatís a huge part in it. It was a challenge because tactical had certain things they had to do. Command had certain decisions and we needed to facilitate both sides.
JB: So really as a negotiator in this situation, youíre negotiator for hostages and everyone else.
JB: When youíre doing this would it be correct to say that youíre negotiating all the time? Your negotiation is ongoing with everybody, right?
KR: With the different agencies, and command and tactical, yes. That would be accurate. Among ourselves, coming-up with a game plan, all the communications, with negotiations. Weíre in the middle. Literally.
JB: Youíve got to be a pretty skilledÖ
KR: Communicator. I guess whatís helped me and the other negotiators, the majority of us are officers, dealing from experience with people who are aggressive or depressed on the streets. You learn to do that. And I didnít start when I was a spring chicken, so I had a lot of experiences being a parent, working in a school, just everyday life, so I guess thatís just one aspect.
JB: So this is a career for you then?
KR: Itís a passion. Absolutely.
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Copyright © 2004, John D. Baker
Copyright © 2004, The Negotiator Magazine