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Police talk stand-off protocol after several recent barricaded suspects

There’s been a recent spike in stand-off situations on the Central coast involving barricaded suspects. There’s been four since August, most recently on Sunday.

There’s been stand-offs in Lompoc, Nipomo, Santa Maria and most recently on Sunday in Vandenberg Village. Earlier today we spoke with police about protocol with these barricade situations and just how expensive they can be.

Potentially deadly standoff situations – perhaps the scariest one of them all happened in Santa Maria two weeks ago.

(Mengel) “It’s how can we succesfully bring this to a resolution without anybody getting hurt,” Santa Maria Police Sgt. Russell Mengel said.

Police say two Wednesdays ago, a domestic violence suspect barricaded himself and his girlfriend inside a Santa Maria home. After several hours the man finally surrendered but not before the home suddenly burst into flames, possibly accidentally caused by police tear gas.

“The first time the officer asks, hey come on out, you’re under arrest, just come on out and give up,” Mengel said.

In August, a barricaded suspect in Lompoc surrendered after over eight hours. Police say days of drug use were a factor.

“If the baricade incident involves a weapon of some sort, knife, baseball bat, firearm, ok we look at other assets, other recourses, armored vehicles, our special weapons teams,” Mengel said.

Last month in Nipomo, another man held up SLO sheriff’s deputies following a domestic dispute call.

“It has been during those events that some of the most deadly or violent confrontations law enforcement has been faced with have occurred,” Mengel said.

On Sunday in Vandenberg Village, a man locked himself inside a home with a pellet gun – no-one was arrested.

“Whatever’s occurred happened, we’ll work it out from there, don’t make it any worse and prolong the incident and impact the lives of many other people,” Mengel said.

Police say these stand-offs aren’t cheap and use a good chunk of tax payer money.

“We budget for it, we anticipate we’re going to see any number of these during the course of the year, but it is additional resources that are having to be paid for,” Mengel said.

“It was kind of scary,” witness Yesenia Zleisy said.

Yesenia Zleisy witnessed the Santa Maria standoff two weeks ago.

(Zleisy) “I think they were just trying to find that person and keep the area protected,” Zleisy said.

Police say these barricade situations can cost as much as $8000 for a four hour event.

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