Columbus police hostage negotiators - always ready

Oct 13, 2003

One of the most intensively trained departments in the Columbus Division of Police is the hostage negotiation team. There are nine negotiators in Columbus and they are on call 24 hours a day.

Hostage negotiators have to "talk 'em down," and bring a crisis to a calm conclusion. Sergeant Ron Roberts, who has been hostage team leader for three years, says a person who is holding himself or others hostage thinks that he is in the most crucial time in his life.

The FBI reports the national average for negotiating crisis situations is 4 to 5 hours. Roberts says the Columbus hostage negotiating team has been successful 99 percent of the time.

In 2002 Roberts says the hostage negotiators were called out 32 times.