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Crisis Negotiations


Philosophy of Crisis Negotiations

The philosophy of Crisis Negotiations is the preservation of human life and a peaceful resolution to special threat situations, primarily through the use of negotiations.

Why do we negotiate?
Preserve life Apprehend suspects Preserve and/or protect property Avoid negligence or malpractice

The Negotiation Process

Contain and demand surrender Contain, Isolate, Evaluate and Negotiate (for as long as life is worth)

History of Crisis Negotiations

1972 Terrorist attack on the Olympic games in Munich, Germany. Thirteen Arabs invade the Israeli Olympic compound and demand release of 200 Arab prisoners from Israeli prisons and transportation to Egypt. 10 Arabs, 11 Israelis and 1 police officer died.

History of Crisis Negotiations

In 1972, Dr. Harvey Schlossberg develops the first hostage negotiations team for the New York Police Department. He stressed:

The importance of containing and negotiating with the hostage taker in a hostage incident. The importance of understanding the hostage takers motivation and personality in a hostage situation. The importance of slowing an incident down so time can work for the negotiator.

History of Crisis Negotiations

Svergis Kredit Bank, Stockholm

In 1973, four Swedish gunmen entered into a 131-hour hostage incident at Svergis Kredit Bank. They demanded the release of their friends from jail, money and air transportation. During the siege, the hostages develop positive feelings for the hostage takers and negative feelings for the police. This phenomena becomes know as the Stockholm Syndrome.

History of Crisis Negotiations

Downs vs. United States

Incident occurred on 10-04-71 A plane was hijacked in Jacksonville, FL 2 hostage takers demanded fuel, the engine be restarted and for officers to clear away FBI SAIC refused demands for fuel Co-pilot and 1 hostage taker came out to negotiate but was arrested SAIC neutralized engines Remaining hostage taker killed all hostages and himself

History of Crisis Negotiations

Downs vs. United States

Courts initially found that the FBI was right in their actions but the ruling was overturned by an appeal court The appeal court stated that the FBI was trained in negotiations and therefore failed to protect the hostages since the hostage-takers were showing positive signs of negotiations This court case set the legal precedence for the use of hostage negotiations in the United States

History of Crisis Negotiations

Ruby Ridge: The use of Third Party Intermediaries (TPI)

In 1992 the FBIs HRT negotiates for ten days with suspected terrorist and anti-government radical Randall Weaver. Only after the FBI uses outside individuals who were known to Weaver did negotiations come to a peaceful resolution without further injury or death.

History of Crisis Negotiations

Branch Dividians Waco, TX

After the tragic outcome, negotiations is geared from the linear approach to a parallel approach in which both the tactical teams and negotiations work concurrently as part of a coordinated approach to resolution of the problem.

Today in Crisis Negotiations

Today, negotiators are used in a wide range of situations not limited to:
Hostage situations Terrorist threats Barricaded suspects Suicidal suspects Domestic disputes Kidnappings


A person held as security for the fulfillment of certain demands H


Hostage Taker
A person who has taken hostage(s) or is an armed barricaded subject, and is threatening to commit violence against his victim or himself HT



To arrange or settle by conferring or discussing

Crisis Negotiations
A team sport

The Crisis Negotiation Team

Primary Negotiator

Person responsible for talking directly to the hostage taker or barricaded subject Develops verbal tactics Monitors and assess the subjects level of emotional arousal Is the direct link to the outside world for the subject Strives to slow everything down Introduces the Secondary Negotiator to the subject

The Crisis Negotiation Team

Secondary Negotiator
Provides direct support to the Primary Negotiator Makes sure that all information flows from intelligence sources to negotiator Closely monitors negotiators tactics and subjects response Is first line relief for the Primary Negotiator

The Crisis Negotiation Team

Provides direct support to the Secondary Negotiator via intelligence bulletins, notes or direct communications Monitors both the Primary and Secondary Negotiators for tactics and responses from the subject Helps direct the flow of negotiations

The Crisis Negotiation Team

Intelligence Coordinator
Responsible for gathering intelligence on all subjects involved in the incident Coordinates with intelligence sources such as detectives, street officers and witnesses to obtain information Heads interview team (if hostages are released) Maintains status boards of information

The Crisis Negotiation Team

Team Leader
Responsible for overall coordination and direction of the negotiation team Is direct link to SWAT leader and Incident Commander

The Crisis Negotiation Team

Additional Team Members

Think tank Intelligence gathers Technical support Liaison to telephone company, utilities and other support services Relief of other negotiator positions

The Crisis Negotiation Team

Mental Health Consultant

Helps evaluate personality of the subject Recommends negotiation techniques Monitors team stress Consults with command

Classification of Circumstances

Classifications of Circumstance Hostage Situation

Person held against their will by third party for demands If demands are not met, there is the threat of harm Hostages are used by hostage taker as leverage Hostages are usually not known by the hostage taker

Classifications of Circumstance Hostage Situation

Hostage situations are usually:

Goal oriented Instrumental demands Usually involves instrumental behavior Motivation is that demands be met Does not want to harm hostages (knows that keeping them alive will prevent tactical action)

Classifications of Circumstance Non-hostage Situation

Hostages held for certain reasons No certain demands or expressive demands Hostage is a victim (homicide-to-be) Hostage selected because of relationship with suspect (He has what he wants. Victim is not up for trade and may already be injured and are in more danger than hostages in a hostage situation.)

Classifications of Circumstance Non-hostage Situation

Non-hostage situations are usually:

Senseless, emotional or self-destructive behavior Has no goal in mind Lacks substantive demands (wants nothing from the police) Unrealistic demands No demand for escape No rational thinking Hostage is main focus (victim) Angry, emotional, frustrated or in a rage Homicide-suicide potential

Dynamics of the Incident

Hostage situations

Generally support police containment and intimidation of force Extensive bargaining and buying time lower the suspects expectations
Frequently made worse by a confrontational police presence that threatens and aggravates the suspect This approach compels a guarded response inhibiting the building of trust and rapport Requires the use of non-threatening active listening skills to yield best results.

Non-Hostage situations

Incident Stages

Pre-crisis stage

Events that lead up to the crisis

Hostage taker regains control by force

Crisis stage

Negotiation stage Resolution

Human response to crisis



Crisis Stage
Emotions are high Rationale is low

Gaining Control of the Situation

A person in crisis has chosen that time to regain control The application of pressure from the countering party (LEO) is part of the negotiation process

Gaining Control of the Situation

Authorities are usually in control, however, if the suspect is in a rage and police confront him with the intent to gain control by force they will find themselves in a crisis.

Strategy to Gain Control

Work towards decreasing the confrontation and lowering tensions Focus on the process not the outcome Let the subject be heard and understood

Listening is the most powerful tool in negotiations



and the effects of time.

Demands may be either

Instrumental: escape, money, vehicles, food, drink Expressive: shouting, demanding attention or love, expressing power

Dont ask for demands Acknowledge the suspects requests but attempt to soften or reframe them


car and $50,000 in thirty minutes!


I understand you would like some money and transportation, Ill pass that along to my people.

Avoid saying no. This does not mean saying yes Attempt to lower his expectations. Ill pass that along, but I think its going to be a problem. Use the excuse of CHAOS and CRISIS for delays Negotiate for sick/injured hostages first


Never dismiss a demand as trivial

If he brings it up then its important to him If its important to him its important to YOU!

Never set a deadline for yourself or for the resolution of the incident Dont tell the suspect something will be done in a specific amount of time.


Movie clip from The Negotiator

Whats Negotiable?



Food Cigarettes Money Media coverage Transportation Alcohol**

Weapons or ammunition Drugs Release of prisoners Exchange of hostages

Why is time important?

First and foremost, it increases BASIC HUMAN NEEDS

Effects of time for the suspect

Physical: food, water and rest Safety: protection from danger or elements Social: acceptance or friendship Self-actualization: coming back to rational thinking

Effects of time for the Negotiator

Intelligence gathering Better decision making Tactical placement Command organization Allows for the Stockholm Syndrome to take effect

Negative Effects of Time

Exhaustion Boredom Creeping-up effect Injuries Pressure for a resolution

Expense Manpower Drugs/alcohol Inconvenience to city Media

The Stockholm Syndrome

It is not a matter of constant coping. It is an unconscious, automatic and emotional response to the trauma of being a victim.
Positive feelings from hostages toward hostage taker Positive feelings from the hostage taker towards hostages Negative feelings from the hostages towards authority

Development of Stockholm Syndrome

Most influential is the simple passage of time The proximity of the hostage taker and the hostages How positive the contact between the hostage taker and hostages have been

Ways to Influence the development of the Stockholm Syndrome

Use hostages name NEVER refer to them as hostages Have the suspect check for injured or ill hostages When referring to needs, include everyone Use of bulk food Rely on the passage of time

The Stockholm Syndrome

The Crying Game movie clip

Communication and Active Listening Skills

Making first contact

The opening line

Every situation is unique. There is no set opening line. Hello, my name is (no rank/title). Im with the Jaro Police Station. My name is __________ with the police department. Is there anyone in there that needs help?

The opening line

After the opening line, ask the subject to consider coming out.

This question has to be accompanied by a sincere and genuine assurance that he will not be harmed and will be treated with respect.

Dont press the issue if you meet resistance.

Listen carefully for clues regarding the emotional state of the subject Expect extreme responses from the subject ranging from verbal abuse to silence.

The approach

Lower emotions by providing a non-threatening environment. Lower your voice and speak slowly. Try to see the problem through the eyes of the subject. People want to be understood. Understanding does not mean agreeing with his actions. Let the subject know you are trying to understand his story and his feelings.

Emotional Labeling and Open-ended Questions

It sounds like youve had a tough deal. How did it all happen? Why do you feel that you have to kill yourself? Emotional Labeling

Suspect: Get the hell out of here or Im gonna kill this bitch! Response: You sound really angry.

Fundamentals of Communications
Person 1 Person 2



Fundamentals of Communications
Person 1 Person 2

Transmit Receive



Fundamentals of Communications Active Listening

Person 1 Person 2


Transmit Receive




Active Listening and Minimal Encouragers

Active listening is providing feedback during conversation

Minimal Encourages

hear you Tell me more Go on OK*

Be aware of when you are using Ok.

Other useful words and phrases

Could you tell me about it First I would like to get to know you a little better Could you share that experience with me I would like to hear your side Tell me about it I guess that is pretty important to you Is that so

Stalling for time

Its more important to be a good listener than a good talker. Listening will provide you with valuable intelligence. Listening is the cheapest yet most effective concession you can make.

Stalling for time

Dont be afraid to say you dont know the answer to a question he asks. Encourage the discussion of everyday matters

This keeps the suspect talking It allows time to pass Helps build rapport Takes the focus of the crisis off the mind of the suspect


Dont be afraid to ask for a time out

When you do, always ask the subject to promise you that he will not hurt himself or anyone else!

Telephone Techniques
Think about or role play what you want to say Plan for content of contact This about how the suspect will respond Make a check list of ideas or objectives Have intelligence at hand Demonstrate empathy

Negotiation Techniques

Establish a we-they relationship with the suspect.

The we is the suspect and the negotiator The they is the authorities and everyone else.

Negotiation Techniques

Strive for honesty. Avoid tricks. Assume nothing! If you are not sure what he means by something, ask him.
Im not sure I understand what you mean. Could you explain it to me? Use good judgment. Dont ask for a clarification on a vague threat.

Negotiation Techniques
When you are speaking, take your time. Speak slowly and calmly. Your tone indicates your attitude. It speaks louder than your words. How you say something is as important as what you say. Project genuineness and sincerity.

Negotiation Techniques
Ask the suspect if he is alright Ask if anyone is injured or ill If you know the names of the victims, use them. This will personalize them. (Stockholm Syndrome)

Potential problem words or phrases

Hostage Hostage taker Surrender Give up SWAT Team Jail or prison Dead Kill Shoot Crime Offense

Hospital / institution Profanity End it Give it your best shot You really dont wanna kill yourself I know how you feel Ill shoot straight with you

The Surrender
Surrender is always a possibility. Plan for it. The subject may want to surrender, but not know how to go about doing it.

The Surrender
Help the suspect to visualize a safe and orderly exit Paint a verbal picture Always refer to when you come out Reassure the suspect that he will not be harmed Tell him to do exactly what the officers instruct him to do

The Surrender


The subject needs to be allowed to save face and maintain some level of dignity.

never know. You might have to deal with him again.


Scenario #1