Specialized training used to handle hostage situation

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU)- Police say a hostage situation is tense for everyone involved and staying calm under pressure is key to keeping everyone safe.

Wednesday police officers, SWAT team members and hostage negotiators put their training to the test during a nearly seven hour ordeal on Eau Claire’s south side.

Officers took 31-year old James Albrecht into custody. He had a warrant for his arrest from the Department of Correctionsand was flagged after filling up his car with gas and driving away.

Police negotiated with him at an apartment building on Hidden Place near the intersection of Craig Road and Hamilton Avenue for several hours.

That's where he's accused of holding five people hostage, including three children while armed with a handgun.

The stand-off ended peacefully. Albrecht agreed to let the hostages go and surrendered to police. He's behind bars and could appear in court as early as Friday.

The Eau Claire Police Department says its officers go through hours of training in crisis negotiation.The important preparation was put to good use Wednesday.

“It's a very fluid situation when we have hostages involved. It’s very difficult because from one minute to the next things can go from really good to really bad,” Eau Claire Police Officer Kyle Roder.

Officer Roder was just one of the officers on the scene as 31-year old James Albrecht barricaded himself inside an Eau Claire apartment, taking five people hostage including three children.

When it came to getting everyone out of the home safely, Roder says cigarettes played a key role in negotiations with Albrecht.

“As part of the negotiating one of the things that he wanted were cigarettes,” Roder explained. “We were able to supply the cigarettes and essentially build a rapport with him so we essentially exchanged cigarettes for victims.”

“In hostage situations maybe there are some negotiations involved or some demands involved or maybe there is something that the hostage taker is wanting or is requiring,” CVTC Associate Dead of Emergency Services Eric Anderson said.

Anderson says as part of CVTC basic law enforcement program crisis situations are taught. Anderson says in order to become a negotiator in a hostage situation a lot more in depth training is required.

“We don't just train at the basic level for law enforcement we do train in-service and specialized officers,” Anderson added.

“We are trained to negotiate. We are trained to respond and have a tactical response and that is what we did. We responded to our training and did what we are paid to do,” Roder said.

Police say you can help in a hostage situation by keeping pictures and information about what's going on off social media.

Officers say if the suspect were to see pictures from social media it could put officers in danger.