-- Valdosta, Ga. -- April 23, 2012 --
Commander Eugene Bell has been a hostage negotiator for the last 28 years. In that time, he's had many successes. But not all negotiations end well. Commander Bell says one time he spoke to a man for four hours. But in the end, that man took his own life.
Commander Bell said "I'm not going to you know sugar coat it, that was really difficult on me. It was difficult for a while because I did second guess myself afterwards. And I did say well jee whiz I should have said this or I could have done that. Or wow if I had only thought about this and, you know, what you come to realize is that someone who takes their own life, or takes the life of another, whatever be the case, they are making that decision."
Lieutenant Aaron Kirk spoke about what it takes to be a hostage negotiator. He said "It just takes somebody with a lot of dedication and a lot of experience to be a hostage negotiator."
There are five active hostage negotiators at the Valdosta Police Department. All fo them are overseen by Commander Eugene Bell.
Commander Bell went on to say "you have to have that level of honesty. Like I said the one thing you don't want as a negotiator is to lie to someone and then get caught in that lie. Cause if you get caught in that lie.. Boom! The level of trust is gone."
Commander Bell has been involved in about 20 hostage negotiations.
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