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Training for hostage situations involving students

Posted at 5:37 PM, Nov 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-19 23:41:09-05

A troubled teen brings a weapon on a bus.

The news spreads on social media, and it leads to a hostage situation.

On Monday, a drill was held on the grounds of Somerset College Preparatory Academy in Port St. Lucie so a number of local law enforcement agencies could practice their negotiation skills.

In this drill, Isabella Napolitano played Caitlin Williams, who has written a "kill list" and made ominous posts online.

This normally soft-spoken freshman was trained to ramp up her aggressiveness.

“Have it be like I’m actually going to harm people, but I’m not," said Napolitano.

Several Port St. Lucie Police Explorers played the role of Caitlin.

“When situations happen in real life, this helps them help other people in these situations. So I feel all of us together are helping," said Police Explorer Jayce Ingersoll.

“If the negotiator makes a strategy and implements it and it's appropriate, then they respond favorably. If they make mistakes, they respond harshly," said Lt. Leo Niemczyk of the Port St. Lucie Police Department.

Lt. Niemczyk works with the Florida Hostage Negotiators Association, and says what makes these drills trickier is that you have adult negotiators, and teen hostage takers.

“The real point of the lesson today is bridging the gap between the teen in crisis, and the adult who is not in crisis," said Lt. Niemczyk.

And through conversation, preventing a potentially dangerous confrontation.