Bob Ragsdale retired in January 2008 after 28½ of service the with Phoenix Police Department. Bob spent 15 years as a tactical officer with the department’s full time SWAT team, the Special Assignments Unit (SAU), from 1985 to 1995 and from 2001 to 2006. As part of his duties with SAU, he served as a negotiator in all team positions including primary, negotiation team leader and negotiation team supervisor. This dual assignment as both tactical operator and negotiator allows Bob to bring a unique perspective to crisis negotiations. He was part of the negotiation team for 15 years and was involved in more than 200 incidents as a member of that team. Bob’s last assignment was as one of the department’s Public Information Officers. Although no longer assigned to SAU, he remained active in negotiations until retirement.
Initially a sniper with SAU, Bob assumed the role of negotiator in April 1988, receiving his initial training from the FBI in December 1988. Over his career, he received hundreds of hours of negotiations-related training including basic and advanced courses from one of the “fathers” of the discipline, Frank Bolz (NYPD, Ret). Bob began formally teaching negotiations in 1992 when the Phoenix Police Department partnered with the Phoenix Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to present the FBI/Phoenix Police Department Basic Crisis Negotiations School. He was also a facilitator and evaluator for the Phoenix Police Department’s Advanced Crisis Negotiations School. In addition to his other duties, he developed and provided training for Phoenix Police Department personnel in Crisis Communications and First Responder Negotiations.
Bob was a state certified instructor in Physical Fitness, Defensive Tactics, Firearms and Tactical Driving and spent time as an Advanced Training Officer with the department’s Tactical Training Unit. As a member of that unit, he created training outlines and conducted in-service and specialty training for department personnel.
In 2003 Bob joined the National Tactical Officers Association’s training cadre. As a Lead Instructor he taught Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced level courses in crisis negotiations and was active in course creation, development and revisions. That same year he took on the voluntary assignment of Managing Editor of their Crisis Negotiator journal, responsible for reviewing and editing content, in addition to authoring numerous articles. Bob stepped away from both N.T.O.A. positions in 2009 but remained active in the organization as a member of the Editorial Review Board for both the Crisis Negotiator and The Tactical Edge. He returned to teaching crisis negotiations for the N.T.O.A. in 2014, finally retiring in 2017.
Bob has given presentations at national, regional and state crisis negotiations conferences. He is a current NTOA, CAHN and WSHNA member. Bob received additional training in crisis intervention and communication while volunteering on the phone lines of the local crisis call center in his new community.
Bob has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Colby College and is a United States Army veteran.