New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - November 12, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas
Page 4A — Herald-Zeitung — Sunday, November 12, 2000County LOCAL
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Hostage negotiators work quickly, quietly
From the Dispatch
CRANES MILL —A mat-tress fire was extinguished Friday morning before it seriously damaged a home.
Canyon Lake Fire/EMS Capt. Hank Shear said firefighters were called to a mobile home in the 300 block of Oak Ridge Lane at 8:46 a.m. Friday.
They arrived two minutes later from the nearby fire station to find a resident hosing down a smoking mattress.
The mattress was dragged outside and extinguished.
Shear credited the effort of the resident and the quick fire response with preventing much more serious damage.
Canyon Lake Fire/EMS was dispatched shortly after lunchtime Friday to a reported structure fire at Summit Resort on River Road.
Firefighters found an electrical problem in the control panel of an air conditioning/heating unit.
There was no other damage.
A car damaged in an electrical fire at an area fast food restaurant Friday afternoon was a complete loss, officials report.
A New Braunfels Fire Department spokesman said a 1987 Chrysler caught fire about 5:30 p.m.
Police officers tried to restrict the blaze with dry chemical extinguishers until firefighters arrived.
The engine compartment and interior of the car were heavily damaged, the official said.
COMAL COUNTY COMMISSIONERS’ COURT —
special meeting, city/county officials’ luncheon, noon Monday, Ryan’s Steak-house, 485 U.S. Hwy 81.
NEW BRAUNFELS CITY COUNCIL — 6:30 p.m. Monday, city council chambers, New Braunfels Municipal Building, 424 S. Casten Ave.
NEW BRAUNFELS INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT — re organizational meeting/workshop, 7 p.m. Monday, The Education Center, 430 W. Mill St.
COMAL COUNTY COMMISSIONERS’ COURT —
special meeting to canvass votes for the Nov. 7 general election, 10 a.m.
Tuesday, commissioners’ courtroom, Comal County Courthouse Annex, 150 N. Seguin Ave,
EDWARDS AQUIFER AUTHORITY — board of directors meeting, 4 p.m. Tuesday, in the conference center of the authority office, 1615 N. St. Mary’s, San Antonio.
By Ron Maloney Staff Writer
SMITHSON VALLEY — At a home, a business or maybe a campsite on Canyon Lake, there has been some kind of problem.
Neighbors or witnesses report shots have been fired; there’s‘a man involved who is pretty unhappy about something.
Maybe there are a couple of people with him, but he won’t let them leave, and he will not talk to anybody.
Sheriff’s deputies seal off the area, the Special Weapons and Tactics team is called in —just in case — and everybody on the inside and the outside hunkers down, their actions deciding what will happen next,
A sheriff’s deputy creeps up, wearing body armor and carrying a protective shield, drops a package at a windowsill and creeps away. It’s not a weapon or a bomb, and it’s not an eavesdropping device.
It’s a telephone so they can try to talk things out.
The Comal County Sheriffs’ month-old crisis negotiation team recently got a technological
jumpstart with a sizeable donation from the Guadalupe Valley Telephone Cooperative.
The donation will buy electronic communications equipment that includes “throw phones” — the kind of telephones that are passed into people in hostage or crisis situations.
“We literally throw it to an individual in a crisis situation if we can’t communicate by phone,” negotiation team member Deputy Bill Klare said.
Team members did not want to divulge the amount of the donation or precisely what equipment it will be used to buy.
“It’s a sizeable and most generous contribution,” Klare said.
Comal County would have needed a couple of years to pay for the expensive equipment on its own, Klare said.
“There are other things we need, but this gives us a very good start,” the deputy said.
The crisis negotiation team is a 10-member unit of the county sheriffs’ office comprised of detectives and officers who are trained to resolve hostage or barricade situations.
“We’re trying to get everyone
Board proposes no parking
New Braunfels Transportation and Traffic Advisory Board voted unanimously Thursday to reject a proposed no parking zone on Walnut Avenue.
The no-parking zone was pro
posed for Walnut Avenue between West San Antonio Street and Business 35. However, the board voted against the proposal after a number residents expressed opposition to the idea.
Pet of the Week
This is Poppy, one of the cutest kittens at the CLASS shelter at Canyon Lake. She is a gray and white short-hdired cat with the snappiest white mustache and great green eyes. Call 905-PETS to adopt this cat, which likes kids and is friendly and playful.
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— potential hostages, deputies and a suspect — out of a situation safely,” Klare said.
The officers get special training that enables them to talk their way to resolution of a potentially dangerous situation without having to “shoot it out.” “The primary goal of a crisis negotiation team is to have Everybody get out of a situation safely,” Sheriffs’ Detective Tommy Ward said.
Detective John Bell agreed.
“Our job is to resolve a situation peacefully,” Bell said.
Klare said Comal County has not had a situation in which the negotiation team has been needed. However, the sheriff’s office decided that developing one was a prudent idea, considering the growth of the county.
About a year ago, the sheriffs’ office developed and is equipping its SWAT team, which has been used quietly since then in a few high-risk, felony arrests.
In June, sheriff’s deputies, New Braunfels Police officers and Comal Independent School District officials conducted a daylong course in “surviving a hostage situation.”
Guadalupe Valley Telephone Cooperative recently made a “sizeable and generous” donation to the Comal County Sheriffs’ crisis negotiation team. From left, Det. John Bell, Dep. Bill Klare, GVTC Vice President Thomas See, Det. Tommy Ward and Det. Eddy Luna.
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