Eau Claire (WQOW)- When most people think of what crisis training means for local law enforcement, a swat team being deployed could be what commonly comes to mind. But, what's happening behind the scenes? Those were the skills being sharpened by local law enforcement on Thursday.
The training was put on by Crisis Systems Management, a national crisis management team. Thursday's scenario was based on an armed robbery. Officials said it was two suspects entering a fast food restaurant. When things went south, they took everyone in the restaurant hostage. The officers walked through how they would communicate with the suspects and the hostages, and how they determine the best course of action to make everyone safe.
The officers said these real-life scenarios are meant to teach them how to communicate and build relationships with those involved in the crisis so they can try and solve the situation without using force.
"The reality is we don't have control over the outcome and that's part of what we train our negotiators is to recognize that can train, we can prepare and we can do our very best, but ultimately the person who has control of the outcome is the subject who has created the standoff. But we can have influence, and so that's what we're training to do is to identify what it is that we can do, to connect with a person and influence their behavior. Because if we can influence them to make better decisions, decisions that allow us to work with them and not use force, then everybody wins," said Troy King, trainer with Crisis Systems Management.
Eau Claire police said the crisis team is only called in to action a handful of times each year, and that could be because every patrol officer is equipped with these skills so they can deescalate a situation before it gets to that point.
The Altoona Police Department, Eau Claire Police Department, the Eau Claire Sheriff's Office and other statewide agencies participated in the training.