Negotiators Key to Defusing Volatile Situation

A mental health evaluation has been ordered for Michael Jennings, the man who was engaged in a nine-hour standoff with Omaha Police near 39th and Himebaugh last week.

Jennings was booked for Felony Assault- Domestic Violence; Use of a Weapon to Commit a Felony and two counts of Child Abuse.

Police say Jennings stabbed his girlfriend, Jessica Tate, several times. She is now in fair condition and expected to recover.

When officers arrived, Jennings barricaded himself in the home, initiating the standoff.

There are times when police have to call in negotiators in order to capture their suspect in a peaceful manner. It is a different kind of situation for Omaha Police.

Sergeant R.J. Jenkins is a negotiator for OPD who said, “The last thing we want to do is to have to be forceful and go inside.”

Police call the trained negotiator to the scene. The situation called for non-violent tactics. The guns were put away.

Sgt. Jenkins said, “Our main thing is for it to end peacefully. We want to make sure there’s a peaceful resolution, no more injuries, nobody gets hurt. Safety for the neighborhood, safety for the police officers who are on the scene also safety for the person who has barricaded themselves.”

Sometimes it takes hours to resolve a situation. That's when negotiators and police at the scene have to show great patience.

Jenkins said, “We try to take our time with these. Our main goal is to get the person to understand, there’s somebody out there for them that could help them with whatever crisis they're going through at the time.”

In this situation the suspect knew he had support. His family was on scene and actually talking to him during the crisis.

OPD negotiators say sometimes family members can be a big help

Jenkins said, “His family was on our side. They wanted him to get the help that he needed.”

After nine hours of negotiating the suspect surrendered. No one else was hurt.


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