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View Full Version : Police procedure question / re: hostage situation



Fredster
01-06-2010, 07:56 PM
I'm trying to semi-accurately portray a hostage situation (it isn't one, but the police think it is). Here are the facts, from the viewpoint of the police:

- They think a dangerous fugitive is inside a house, with multiple hostages. They believe he killed a cop earlier in the day, then went on to cause serious mayhem in downtown Las Vegas.

- They have surrounded the house.

- They have the ability to reach the man they're after via cell phone, because it was his call to 9-1-1 that brought them here (he identified himself in the call).

I figure they'll try to make contact with him, but would they do the old "We have you surrounded, come out with your hands up?" thing over the bullhorn (which seems kind of cliche to me), or would they have a negotiator call him on the cell?

Or...would they do something else entirely, like send in SWAT with flashbangs and tear gas?

My guy is innocent (the guy who killed the cop was trying to shoot my guy's son, and missed), and will be getting out of the situation, but as always, I'd like to make the police part as realistic as possible.

Any ideas on the proper procedure for confronting or initiating communication in a hostage situation?

Thanks in advance. :)

BillPatt
01-06-2010, 10:11 PM
They had a situation out in Las Vegas a few days ago, that might give you a little info about responses in LV.

There's a couple of TV shows on about hostage negotiation. I can't remember the name of it now, but the rest of the fam is killing their brain cells watching it on free TV.

BlueMouse
01-07-2010, 09:47 AM
If the guy is armed and has hostages, no way will they be sending in the troops. Too much danger an innocent person will be killed. Instead they'll surround the house, settle down, and try to wait him out. The idea is to make him realize that there's nowhere he can go, but not to panic him to the point that he starts killing people because he figures he might as well - what more does he have to lose?

To that end, if they CAN reach him by cell, and they're in a city large enough to actually HAVE a police negotiator, it's likely they'd call him and the PN would start establishing a rapport. He wants the baddie to think that he's on his side, that he just wants to help him. He'll probably ask for a show of faith, like releasing one of the hostages (usually one that's injured or very young).
If your guy is innocent, I imagine he'll want to do that. Don't make him too hard or uncaring to his hostages, or you're going to lose sympathy for the pickle he is in.

(Hubby is a DPS trooper and I watch WAY too many cop shows for my own good, with him right there nitpicking every single thing they do wrong. ;))

Hope that helped a little.

Fredster
01-08-2010, 01:04 AM
Thanks, guys.

BlueMouse - I may not have explained well. They're not actually hostages, the police just think they are. But, now that you mention it, one of them has been shot (not by my guy), I think I might have him send her out so she can get treatment. So thanks for giving me that idea, I think it strengthens what I'm trying to do. :)

BlueMouse
01-08-2010, 02:54 AM
Awesome! Glad I could help, even if it was by accident! :D

C. C.
01-08-2010, 09:44 PM
My husband is on the SWAT team in a fairly large city, so this is based on his experience:

In those type situations, the SWAT team is always called in his department. They will, like someone else said, not go in with guns drawn and flash-bangs. They would set up a perimeter and try to wait the guy out. They would have the negotiator (most any large city will either have an official negotiator or some SWAT guys who also serve as negotiators) try to establish contact. (Not with a bullhorn...they'll try to use cellphones or landlines). At that point, I would guess your character would try to explain that he is not a bad guy? That he is not really holding hostages? But maybe the cops wouldn't believe him because they are so worked up over the cop being shot earlier (which they would be)? Anyway...the situation could drag on for hours...I've known of some to go for 12-18 hours, although not usually more than that. Usually either the (real) bad guy gives up or commits suicide. On occasion, they have had to go into the house/apartment if they think the hostages are in danger, but that's after waiting it out and trying to negotiate. If they did have to go in, they would do it FAST...element of surprise, ya know. ;) Hope that helps.

RJK
01-09-2010, 01:38 AM
I don't know why your character doesn't just walk out and turn himself in. A quick firearms test should prove he didn't shoot the cop (assuming he's armed). I know this will kick a big hole in your story, but your character must do what makes sense, Not what makes your story work.

Fredster
01-10-2010, 07:18 PM
I don't know why your character doesn't just walk out and turn himself in. A quick firearms test should prove he didn't shoot the cop (assuming he's armed). I know this will kick a big hole in your story, but your character must do what makes sense, Not what makes your story work.
My character thinks the government is trying to kill him and take his son. He's not turning himself (or his kid) over to agents of the state.