NOBLESVILLE, Ind (WISH) – Noblesville Police dangled high in the sky Monday, to help officers prepare for a high-rise situation.
100 feet in the air, someone sat on the ledge of a Duke Energy building, threatening to jump. This prompted police negotiators to race upstairs, elevators, and a fire ladder.
“Pretty much, nationwide, negotiators are having to do this, where they’re talking face-to-face, especially if there is no cell phone,” Noblesville Police Lt. David Thoma said.
It was all part of a drill. A role player went back and forth with police, as he debated whether to jump. A three-hour training, officers and firefighters used to battle heights and practice high-rise suicide situations.
“A lot of times we’re going to be in a command trailer of some sorts, but this gets them out,” Lt. Thoma said. “Not only are they going to be out by doing a face-to-face, but they’re going to be in a bucket truck about 90 feet in the air.”
These types of calls don’t happen often, but the potential is growing. US Census numbers show the city’s population has doubled in 15 years.
The trouble isn’t only with buildings, but towers as well, which can put people and police in a dangerous situation.
“Depending if this was a real scenario, depending what the victim might be doing, might be thinking, they might try to jump on us,” Lt. Thoma said. “They might try to take us with them.”
Each negotiators spent about 45 minutes in the air. Time that could go a long way to protect a growing community.
“It’s going to put a lot of stress on the negotiators, but we need to practice it,” Lt. Thoma said.