THPD explains standoff protocol

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – Police put a lot of work into making sure all standoffs end with no one getting hurt.  We learned with the 19th and Crawford standoff, some planning ahead by Terre Haute Police really paid off.

At 8:30 Wednesday night, THPD got the call of a man who pulled a gun and was making threats towards another.

The suspect was a man already on their radar. Thaddeus Carpenter had a warrant out of his arrest and even 24 hours before this incident, Terre Haute Police decided the Special Response Team would be responsible for taking him into custody.

“We had at least two individuals come to the police department either by phone or in person and basically inform us that this person had made numerous threats that he was not going back to jail and that he would do any harm to police officers that tried to make that happen,” said Shawn Keen, Assistant Terre Haute Police Chief.

So, when Carpenter holed himself up inside a home at 19th and Crawford, the SRT responded as did negotiators from city police.

“Under those circumstances, our protocol was to surround the house, remove the people from the surrounding area, and first priority is to try and make contact with that person,” said Keen.

Police tried by cell phone and through a pa system, but that contact with Carpenter didn’t happen for more than two and a half hours into the standoff.

That seems like a frustrating situation but it was actually less time than what police expect from a standoff.

“We go into it thinking this is going to be much longer,” said Keen.  “We’re not going to be in any rush.  There’s no need for any rush or any immediate action.”

Police say that’s why they evacuated the area.

With no one immediately threatened by the standoff, police have nothing but time to try and reach the suspect.  Once that contact is made, negotiators can do their work and talk down that person into a peaceful resolution, which is what happened Wednesday night.

Terre Haute Police have five officers specially trained in negotiation.

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