Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

April 6, 2007

SWAT team prepares bus drivers for danger


“The only thing you have control of in this sort of situation is your emotions,” he said.

If an armed and upset student or an intruder such as an irrational parent takes control and wants to talk, then listen, officers advised the drivers. Performing “active listening” is something everyone does most every day, Beasley said, especially if the person talking is upset or excited. Then the listener is simply adding a comment or two to indicate continued interest, but the speaker is allowed to keep talking.

And there are times when the subject causing the crisis “gets silent,” Beasley said. “Use that.”

All the time the subject stays quiet is more time for law enforcement to arrive on the scene.

“Keep talking as long as they are talking. If they shut down and keep silent, then be silent,” he said.

S.W.A.T. exercises are fun to watch, but “believe me, you don’t want to be part of a real one. Stay calm, control your emotions, and wait until we get there,” Beasley said.

Director of Transportation Michael Weeks said Friday’s session would be part of ongoing training for bus operators.

“We need to be sure that we use our resources and experiences as best we can,” Weeks said.

— Contact Greg Jordan at

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