DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Montgomery County’s Hostage Negotiation Team is made up of law enforcement officers and dispatchers who have gone through countless hours of training to diffuse situations.
Major Jeremy Roy has been on the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office’s Hostage Negotiation Team for 20 years. He is the hostage negotiation team’s commander, and says his job isn’t what most people would typically think it would consist of.
“Any time we show up, it’s always something different,” Roy said. “When you think of hostage negotiation, it’s the bank robbery that went bad.”
Major Roy says the majority of their calls to respond are for a single person who has barricaded themselves.
“Sometimes, we’ll get that one extra hostage, and sometimes we call them a hostage. But a lot of times it’s a family member or friend who was trying to help that person.”
The 14-member team goes out every time the SWAT team is activated on either a barricade or hostage situation.
“A lot of things that go on with hostage negotiations or crisis negotiation is the ability to listen, and listen to actually understand, and not listen to respond.”
The team’s commander says that most of the time when his team is activated, it is not to respond to a crime. The activation could also mean a person is in crisis.
“No matter if it is somebody that’s on the roof and refusing to come down, or somebody that’s in their house, our job is to try to build that rapport; make sure we bring their emotions down a little bit,” Roy said.
The team goes through specialized training year-round for crisis negotiation and intervention. With every call, Major Roy says his team wants to see any situation end peacefully before SWAT tactics are even needed.
“We’re out there to save lives and prevent harm. We’re out there to try to get a successful negotiation resolution out of it.”