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Fayetteville police crisis team saves lives, treats veterans

Posted August 9

— Officers with the Fayetteville Police Department's Crisis Negotiation Team are trained to help people dealing with emotional crises.

Just two weeks ago, the team talked to a woman going through an emotional crisis as she was sitting from the edge a bridge over Cross Creek.

"We crawled and talked to this lady for about two hours," said Captain Darry Whitaker, who is in charge of the 12-member team.

The team was also successful Tuesday in helping a 50-year-old veteran who was dealing mental health crisis on Stockton Road.

They often help veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Fayetteville police crisis team saves lives, treats veterans

"We have veterans on the team as well, and some that's not. But either way you learn the appropriate techniques of active listening, so you can do that in a rational state of mind," Whitaker said.

They use special equipment to communicate with the people they encounter.

'"Folks are in crisis, and that's what we do. We actually talk to people who are in a crisis to get them from irrational high to a rational low," Whitaker said.

They're also trained to take the steam out of explosive situations.

“A lot of people think ‘This is the end. I have nothing to live for’”, Matrafailo said. "It's our job to show you there's something to live for. It's our job to present those options so essentially they make the right decision."

But not all crises have good outcomes. Earlier this year, police had to shoot a man who was held up in an apartment complex for hours near a school. The man died and negotiators felt the emotion of the loss as well.

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