Sheriff Winder: Holladay SWAT standoff defused thanks to solid work by police negotiators

As a SWAT standoff in Holladay ended peacefully with a man being taken to a medical facility for evaluation Sunday afternoon, Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder spoke to Gephardt Daily about how police can assist in the successful resolution of such incident. Photo: Gephardt Daily

HOLLADAY, Utah, Oct. 16, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — A SWAT standoff in Holladay ended peacefully with a man being taken to a medical facility for evaluation Sunday afternoon. Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder spoke to Gephardt Daily about how police can assist in the successful resolution of such incidents.

The situation near 6300 S. Senoma Drive East began at approximately 12:15 p.m. with reports to police of a man with a gun inside a home threatening to harm himself. SWAT teams were quickly dispatched, and the incident was resolved by 2 p.m. with the man being transported unhurt to be evaluated.

Winder talked Gephardt Daily through the incident. “Today we had a very unfortunate situation that started off as probably what was a family dispute, and devolved into a situation that was a gentleman holding himself with a firearm” he said. “A very dangerous situation, luckily it’s resolved without any incident.

“In these circumstances, I’m sure people wonder why the need for so many resources. It is important that we contain the situation not only for our safety and the neighborhood’s safety but also the the individual inside the home. What we don’t want is a bunch of external influences that might cause a problem. For instance, oftentimes, family members will come to the scene and be very well-meaning, but sometimes that can result in significant tension, because we never know what the family dynamics are, so a lot of people will get very upset with us, but really our goal is to try and make sure the situation remains stable.”

In this case, officers that arrived on scene from Murray City Police Department were the first negotiators. “As is almost always the case, our first patrol resources that get here, their goal and objective is to engage the individual in conversation; remember our goal here is to try and calm everything down,” Winder said.

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“Regardless of how tense it is, it’s hard to remain violent if you are having a conversation with someone you are beginning to trust and appreciate. And the officers here did a great job. We had officers here from Murray City Police Department as well as Unified Police Departmen, and they worked together seamlessly, and in my opinion really greatly worked together to resolve the situation.

“In these situations it doesn’t matter which police agency is here, what matters is that we’re all working together on the same page, and today it worked out very, very well,” he said.

“Another thing for the citizens to recognize is when law enforcement responds in this way it doesn’t always result in a charge; crime is not just what we deal with, we deal with the tensions and the emotional and the mental health-related issues, and that’s really what we had here; a gentleman in crisis, and our goal is to resolve that. He is now going to receive the assistance that he needs, as is the family, as is the community. Everyone’s going to work together here to make sure that the situation is solved and remains solved, that’s really our goal.”

Winder also talked about what officials do in situations like these to assist the individual with the first step towards their recovery.

“When an individual is in crisis, our opportunities really involve transportation to a local medical facility where they can be evaluated, or they can be transported to a local mental health facility,” he said. “Our people will be evaluating which is most appropriate, but at this point he is not going to jail.”

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