SWAT negotiators act as more than just a voice behind the badge - FOX34 Lubbock

SWAT negotiators act as more than just a voice behind the badge

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

SWAT teams are called out when incidents escalate, like a hostage situation or someone standing off with the police. When on the job these officer firsts use diplomacy before resorting to their special weapons and tactics. 

Sergeant Brandon Peirpoint has been with the Lubbock County Sheriff's Office for 19 years, with 17 years on the negotiator team. 

"A lot of the times, a lot of these people are veteran with our department. They've been in patrol, so they can do a whole range of things," he said. 

Teams train monthly and quarterly to keep up with developing tactics. Detective David Schreiber has been on the Lubbock Police Department's negotiator team for about five years. While most see these officers as the voice behind the badge he emphasizes the important of active listening, saying its a key skill for the job.

 "I think some common misconceptions would be that there's some type of like magic or wizardry or we're messing with your mind or something like that. Really what we're doing is we're listening to you," he said. 

The team could spend hours trying to talk someone down. After a mentally exhausting call-out, debriefing is the next step. 

"You're mentally shot. You're just done, and so it is important to have a debriefing where we meet, sit down and talk about what happened, what went well, what went wrong," Schreiber said. 

Sergeant Peirpoint said most call-outs are short term problems. He said negotiators are just trying to understand what led to the situation and resolve it calmly. He reminds others their end goal is to help. 

"I think it's just important for people to know that we are trying to help," he said, "and we're not trying to trick people or anything. Sometimes there a misconception of law enforcement doesn't have the best interest at heart, but we obviously do."




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