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Hostage Negotiation Expert, Randall Rogan: Hostage Situation A 'Roller Coaster'

10:50 PM, Feb 4, 2013   |    comments
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Winston-Salem, NC -- After the week-long hostage situation in Alabama, we sat down with a hostage negotiation expert to talk about what goes on in these scenarios.

Randall Rogan, a communications professor at Wake Forest University, is a hostage and crisis negotiation expert. His work helped police make an arrest in the 1996 Unabomber case.

Rogan sat down with WFMY News 2 Monday to explain the role of hostage negotiators and what it takes to make these situations end peacefully.

Watch: Full Interview with hostage negotiation expert, Randall Rogan

Many questioned the amount of time it took law enforcement to go in and rescue the 5-year-old boy in Alabama; Rogan says hostage situations are not as simple as we try to make them seem--there's a process.

"Why did it take so long?" asked Rogan. "It's a simple part of the negotiation process that, first of all, negotiators want to try to calm the suspect down."

Rogan says next, negotiators spend time developing a relationship with the suspect, which isn't always an easy task.

"It's challenging and difficult because you're trying to deescalate the situation, build rapport in a relationship of trust with the individual when the suspect generally has a distrust and suspicion of the motive and intent of the negotiator," he said.

One thing that is certain is the fact that hostage situations are completely unpredictable.

"It's a high stress situation for negotiators," said Rogan. "For the hostage negotiator, it's a roller coaster as well because you may think you are making progress, and [the suspects] change their mind."

In his interview with WFMY News 2, Rogan touched on the process of hostage negotiations, the factors negotiators have to consider, and how a hostage might sometimes grow attached to the captor.

WFMY News 2

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