Home World US High school students in Lawrence assist local police with hostage scenario training

High school students in Lawrence assist local police with hostage scenario training

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LAWRENCE, Kan. (KCTV) – Today, officers enlisted local teenagers to act out roles for a potential hostage scenario as part of a training exercise for the Lawrence and Lenexa police departments.

Eric Barkley, a sergeant within the Lawrence Police Department, said officers came up with the idea several months ago. They reached out to the National Honors Society for 11 volunteers. The students acted as hostages and suspects, talking with officers through their training scenarios.

“It keeps us fresh, keeps us lively,” Barkley said.

Other officers helped observe and keep the students on track. Meg Bardwell, a detective with LPD, was stationed in one of the classrooms. She listened patiently to the conversations between a student “suspect” and an officer over the phone. The officer was asking if the hostage-taker felt safe and comfortable enough to come out of the building.

“Learning how to negotiate can help you in every aspect of your life,” Bardwell explained. “Just communicating with people, showing empathy.”

At one point, the officers even delivered a Chick-fil-A lunch via a reconnaissance robot.

“They’re trying to bring this to a peaceful conclusion,” Barkley said.

The drills ended as scheduled, peacefully of course. Bardwell said the students performed admirably.

“They’re smart kids with bright futures,” she said.





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