By Noah Johnson
LANSING, Ill. (July 24, 2021) – Detective David Bell, a trained crisis negotiator who served 20 years at the Lansing Police Department, is retiring.
Throughout his career, Bell saved lives by helping to resolve situations with his communication skills to leaping into action to help those in need. His last day at the department will be August 27. His post-retirement plans include working in insurance fraud investigations.
“In my career, I have learned the virtue of patience, professionalism, how to effectively communicate with residents of the community I served and how to make solid decisions in high stress situations,” Bell said.
History of service
Bell grew up in Chicago, moved to Lansing in the late 1990s and joined the Lansing Police Department in 2001. He has served with the South Suburban Emergency Response Team, which he said is like a S.W.A.T team. Before his tenure as a police officer and detective, he worked with the Chicago Housing Authority Investigations Bureau.
His career allowed him to use what he said is a god-given gift: communication. He’s taken the lead on several hostage and crisis negotiations. Once, he talked a suicidal subject down from jumping over a bridge onto an expressway.
He was also given an award in April for de-escalating a potentially deadly situation. That incident saw a man barricaded in a Calumet City home while threatening his own life and the lives of officers. During the incident, the man held a knife closely to his chest.
Bell convinced the man to drop the weapon after 30 to 45 minutes of negotiating.
When negotiating during a crisis situation, Bell said there’s several factors to keep in mind. But most of all, “the main goal is to make sure (they) don’t hurt (themselves) and those around (them),” he said.
Since his early days on the force, things have changed.
“Society has become much more violent and the respect for officers has diminished,” he said. That diminished respect level has to do with “several publicly seen incidents,” he said.
Communities nationwide have been grappling with issues related to how officers and citizens interact. Part of those discussions were sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis while he was in police custody. Many communities, including Lansing, participated in demonstrations and events to protest police brutality.
Despite the challenges that remain, Bell said “we can’t give up hope.”
“Hope that residents and police all over the nation can continue to build that bridge, brick by brick,” he said. “We need to work together and understand that we need each other.
“Society will be much better off if we can communicate effectively and work effectively with each other,” Bell added.
The Lansing Police Department is located at 2710 170th Street, Lansing, IL.
- Lansing detective receives ‘Life Saving Award’ for de-escalating potential suicide (May 15, 2021)
- Lansing responds to 2020 race questions with complexity (December 29, 2020)