MPD hosts training conference for negotiators from across state

MILWAUKEE -- When dealing with situations like the shooting at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek and the shooting at the Azana Salon & Spa in Brookfield, law enforcement officials sometimes rely on negotiators, who go through intensive training to help them respond to these critical incidents. The Milwaukee Police Department is hosting a training conference for these negotiators.

Along with major shooting incidents, negotiators are called upon to handle situations like a man threatening to jump from a building, or a suicidal gas station attendant.

"Our bottom line is to save lives. We are life-savers," Harold Graves, who helped found the Wisconsin Crisis Negotiators Association said.

Negotiators come together from across Wisconsin for intensive training to develop skills to respond to these critical incidents.

"The art of crisis negotiations is listening to the subject -- not talking to them," Graves said.

Through the Wisconsin Crisis Negotiators Association, Graves has over the past 14 years led the way on providing uniformed training to all of Wisconsin's negotiators.

"I can insert a negotiator from Milwaukee, Wisconsin into a correctional setting in a prison in Wisconsin and they still work the same," Graves said.

A negotiator was recently put to work in Milwaukee, when a man dangled above I-43 just north of downtown Milwaukee. In the end, law enforcement officials achieved what every negotiator strives for when going into a situation.

"You never know what type of situation might arise. Many times, there are incidents where you're going to have to negotiate. (We just hope for) a peaceful resolution and that no one gets hurt," Milwaukee Police Lt. Alfonso Morales said.

The Milwaukee Police Department says it would like to become the home to all statewide negotiators training. Lt. Morales believes it would be good for local businesses and MPD as a whole.