Posted at: 08/20/2014 7:26 PM
Updated at: 08/20/2014 7:38 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4
Albuquerque police have something new they say will help them find peaceful solutions to all of the SWAT Team standoffs, hostage and barricade confrontations they have to deal with.
Police commanders decided they needed a bigger, better mobile command center for their crisis negotiation teams. The problem was money. It was going to cost $300,000 to $400,000 for a huge new tricked-out RV truck.
They found a way to do it a lot cheaper than that. The department already had a backup mobile command unit – a Freightliner with only 3,000 miles on it. All it took was a $12,000 upgrade in communications and computer equipment. Negotiators working in the truck will get more information and they will get it faster.
"I've been doing this since 1999," said Sgt. Mizel Garcia, one of the department's most experienced negotiators. "In the past, to get this kind of information, I would make a phone call and say 'can you look up this information for me?' It would take 15 minutes, sometimes 20 minutes."
Now, it won't take but 15 or 20 seconds. We're talking real-time information for the whole team.
"If it's that one little piece of information that can change the day for a person having a bad day, that's our goal," said Commander Joe Christman. "We want to get somebody to come out with the least amount of force as possible and de-escalate the situation."
"As they're going through all this information-gathering, you have a psychologist sitting right there looking at all the background information, trying to make his best determination on what he thinks the subject's demeanor is and his mental state," said Deputy Chief William Roseman. "We're speeding up the information, but slowing down the whole incident to reach a peaceful solution."
There's one wildly popular upgrade - it's got a bathroom. Hey, sometimes these police standoffs can take 10 or even 12 hours.