Waterville, Maine. (WABI) Waterville police successfully ended two standoffs last month without injury.
Special training by the department's officers, commanders and negotiators is getting credit for helping resolve both situations peacefully.
"We do deal with these types of situations around the holiday season, you know, additional stress in people's lives. But it is unusual to have two so close together," said Deputy Chief William Bonney, Waterville P.D.
23-year-old Michael Joslyn is facing multiple charges after police say he tried to shoot his landlord through the floor of his College Avenue apartment in early December.
While police eventually needed to deploy a pepper-spray projectile to end the 14-hour standoff, Joslyn, his landlord, the public, and police were not injured.
"Rather than charging in and getting us into a lethal force situation if we don't have to, we're going to avoid that. We'll step back, we'll set up a secure perimeter and we'll bring our negotiators in to hopefully bring it to a peaceful conclusion," said Bonney.
"We talk to them, work with them, listen to them and just build that rapport until where they feel some sense of hope and then work with them on figuring out a resolution so that they can have this end peacefully," said Waterville police negotiator Sgt. Jennifer Weaver.
Weaver was called to the standoff involving Joslyn, as well as another four-hour long standoff in late December involving a suicidal woman with a firearm.
She says every situation and person in crisis is different and her job is to establish contact with the subject by phone, text, or bullhorn to develop a mutual trust and understanding of that person.
"Everybody has bad days. Everybody hits rock bottom at one point or another and a lot of people have somebody that they can turn to. And there are people out there who don't have family members, or friends, or loved ones that they feel that they can turn to. So the negotiator almost fills in that role," said Sgt. Weaver.
Weaver underwent an extensive FBI course and continues to receive yearly training.
Deputy Chief William Bonney says the cold weather complicated the most recent standoff as officers who typically are able to stay in position for hours were limited to 15 minute increments.
But no matter the temperature, the location, or the reason for why a person causes a standoff, Bonney says their objective is always to protect the lives of everyone involved.
"Sometimes these situations go bad and we know that, and we know that they may not end well. But we're going to do everything in our power to keep our officers safe and to keep the person involved in the standoff safe also. Because at the end of the day our job is to save lives not take them," said Bonney.