PUNTA GORDA, Fla. - What does it take to get someone to surrender safely to police?
Two people were talked out of potentially deadly situations in southwest Florida this week, including one man who was pulled over in Punta Gorda on Monday night.
Lt. Joe King is the only trained crisis negotiator with the Punta Gorda Police Department. He was called out to convince that man, who was holding a gun to his own head for hours, to surrender.
"My entire life, my mother always told me i could sell ice to an Eskimo," King said. "I''ve always had the ability to communicate with people."
King said his innate ability to connect with people is the most important part of negotiating.
"It's important to gather intelligence about the person -- as much as you can get," King said. "Background, family, military -- anything you can find to make a connection.
"This particular person, it was a rapid-fire session, and it really is exhausting on a subject to have someone nonstop wanting to talk, wanting to talk, wanting to talk.
"And i was on the roller coaster with him -- you know -- looking for that connection. And three hours into it, I think we really felt that connection."
King gives subjects his full attention, even refusing to answer his cell phone until the crisis is resolved.
He says the process can be exhausting.
"I told (the subject) I was going to be there when they came out, and they expect to see you," King said.
King said he is asking PGPD to train more officers to be crisis negotiators.