Thursday, December 6, 2018

December Newsletter

Crisis Negotiation Newsletter
December 2018 | 

Hello all,

Here's the latest edition of the newsletter. First, happy holidays to everyone. Regardless of what you celebrate (or don't), I'm sending my best to everyone. 

The holidays can also though be a tough time for some - especially law enforcement personnel and others working in crisis incidents. Make sure you look after yourself. You matter. 

Take a moment to check out some resources [HERE]. For example, did you know that the great organization, Crisis Text Line, has set up a special keyword specific for law enforcement officers in a personal crisis? By texting BLUE to 741741 (U.S. only), you'll be connected to a crisis counselor that will only know you are a law enforcement officer somewhere in the U.S. needing a bit of help. It's 24/7, free, and confidential. 

Moving along, there's plenty of information (as usual!) in this month's newsletter. I'll update the calendar next month for 2019 trainings. I'm also working on some interesting research that can also serve as a way for your teams to stay sharp with their skills. I'll share more next month but as a preview, one study includes a terrorism element while another is regarding texting.  

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Q&A: Kidnapping and extortion: Just another day at the office

Michael A. Guidry is the founder of Guidry Group, a company established in 1985. The Guidry Group is a security services company. Tuesday, April 17, 2018, in Houston. ( Marie D. De Jesus / Houston Chronicle )

In an ideal world, no one would need the Guidry Group, an international kidnap and ransom, security services and crisis management company. In the actual world, the Guidry Group has resolved more than 70 kidnappings and 40 extortion cases. Its Crisis Management Team tackles an ever-growing number of global threats and emergencies such as terrorism, state-sponsored violence, cyberattacks and natural disasters.

Q: How did you get involved in kidnap and ransom?
A: My kidnap and ransom training began while I was a state trooper in Texas. I loved negotiating in hostage situations, so I put myself through training, not only in the U.S. but around the world. I continued training while at the international company — and still train today. This helps me stay current with the ways kidnappings and extortions can happen. Methods of payment, items requested for negotiations and more continue to change. My skills have to change with them.
Q: Do you have any special “tricks” to save kidnap victims?

A: Basically, we take over the situation and do the negotiations. I don’t know if I’d call our techniques “tricks.” We try to get into the perpetrators’ minds and determine what they really want. Experience is important, as is learning the “do’s” and “don’ts,” and doing more of the “do’s.” Keeping our clients — not happy, because they won’t be happy — but satisfied, is important.
Read more [HERE]. 

Saturday, December 1, 2018

After a suicide, here’s what happens to the people left behind


Loss survivors – the close family and friends left behind after a suicide – number six to 32 for each death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, meaning that in 2017 alone, as many as 1.5 million people unwillingly became part of this group.

They are forced to cope with the loss of a loved one and navigate uncertain futures, often caring for confused children as they struggle to accept they may never know "why."

"After his death, I cannot say that I was suicidal, but I can remember being in so much emotional pain that I would think, 'I really don’t want to wake up,'" Ruocco said. "Because you can’t figure out how to live your life with this kind of grief."

Read more [HERE]. 

Friday, November 30, 2018

Understanding Psychosis

is s set of symptoms that impacts a person's thoughts and behaviors. A common experience is losing touch with reality. It can affect people of all ages, races, ethnicities, genders and cultures.

Check out this short video to learn more:

Friday, November 23, 2018

C-K officers learning skills to de-escalate crisis situations

There were some hostage situations at a local hotel in Chatham on Thursday that Chatham-Kent police officers had to deal with, but there was no danger to the public.

There were some hostage situations at a local hotel in Chatham on Thursday that Chatham-Kent police officers had to deal with, but there was no danger to the public.
These scenarios involving actors is part of a five-day crisis negotiators course local officers are taking in Chatham, along with officers from Niagara Regional Police.
...Const. Fraser Curtis, an experienced negotiator, who is being re-certified, said crisis negotiation is a “perishable skill and obviously something that’s needed on the road from time-to-time when a call comes through where somebody’s in crisis.”
Tom Hart, president of Canadian Critical Incident Inc., with 20 years experience as a crisis negotiator with Durham Regional Police, is a course instructor.
“These type of people when they suffer these mental illnesses they’re in a state of crisis,” Hart said. “It’s really important for the officers to recognize those illnesses and develop a negotiating strategy to defuse, de-escalate and negotiate.”
Listening and de-escalating are key to successful negotiation, he said, followed by communicating clearly to the individual how resources will be used to resolve the situation.
Read more [HERE]. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

How to Control Your Emotions During a Difficult Conversation

It’s hard not to get worked up emotionally when you’re in a tense conversation. After all, a disagreement can feel like a threat. You’re afraid you’re going to have to give up something — your point of view, the way you’re used to doing something, the notion that you’re right, or maybe even power – and your body therefore ramps up for a fight by triggering the sympathetic nervous system. This is a natural response, but the problem is that our bodies and minds aren’t particularly good at discerning between the threats presented by not getting your way on the project plan and, say, being chased down by a bear. Your heart rate and breathing rate spike, your muscles tighten, the blood in your body moves away from your organs, and you’re likely to feel uncomfortable.

Focus on your body. Sitting still when you’re having a difficult conversation can make the emotions build up rather than dissipate. Experts say that standing up and walking around helps to activate the thinking part of your brain. If you and your counterpart are seated at a table, you may be hesitant to suddenly stand up. Fair enough. Instead, you might say, “I feel like I need to stretch some. Mind if I walk around a bit?” 

If that still doesn’t feel comfortable, you can do small physical things like crossing two fingers or placing your feet firmly on the ground and noticing what the floor feels like on the bottom of your shoes. Mindfulness experts call this “anchoring.” It can work in all kinds of stressful situations. For example, for a long time I was afraid of flying, but I found that counting while touching each of my fingers with my thumb helped to get me out of my rumination mode.

Read more and get all of the tips [HERE]. 

Saturday, November 17, 2018

'Very tense and very stressful': Crisis negotiators play pivotal role in recent standoffs with police

Winnipeg Police Service’s crisis negotiation team involved in several high-profile calls in last 3 weeks

The Winnipeg Police Service's crisis negotiation unit has dealt with several high-profile incidents over the past few weeks, including four armed and barricaded situations — two of those involving firearms.
"No two calls are going to be the same. Obviously, the deployment sort of ramps up your level of anxiety," said unit commander Staff Sgt. Sean Pollock.
"Really, you're just trying to establish communication. You're allowing that individual to express and vent," said Pollock.
Read more [HERE]. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

FBI Hostage Negotiation Tactics You Can Use Every Day

We have all read and trained on some of these techniques, but how many of us actual practice them and use them? Have a look...

Try the mirroring technique.

When in a negotiation it's crucial to get as much information out of the other side as possible. Voss explains that by "mirroring" them and simply repeating three to five keywords in their last sentence, people are forced by nature to repeat themselves in a way that gives more information and clarifies their points. An example:
Person 1: To get someone to tip their hand and clarify, simply repeat the last three to five keywords in their sentence.
Person 2: You repeat the last keywords?

Person 1: Yeah, pretty crazy right? What that does is it causes me to explain my point again from a different angle, revealing more information that could be extremely valuable and also it helps you decipher my true desired outcomes and motivations.
Voss notes it feels extremely awkward when you are doing the mirroring, but insists that the other person almost never notices and actually feels listened to. Voss refers to this as the negotiation "Jedi Mind trick" as he says it works every time and no one knows you're doing it.
Read more [HERE].

Monday, November 12, 2018

Manukau mall siege: Woman held hostage speaks of her horror

Laura Wheeler was in an Auckland Mall food court when a man came up from behind her and put a knife to her throat.

She said the man kept telling her quietly he didn't want to hurt her.

She said the man kept asking for his sister.

Wheeler said there were plenty of police officers facing off with the man, many who had drawn weapons.

However, only one spoke, a negotiator who Wheeler said did an "outstanding" job.

She said the negotiator told the man he could see his sister when he went back to the police station with them.

Read the full story and watch video footage at the NZ Herald [HERE].

Thursday, October 18, 2018

7 Traits of the Modern Sociopath and Psychopath

You hope to never negotiate or engage a subject with anti-social personality disorder but if you do, you better know about their common traits and symptoms. Have a look at the snippet below with the link to the full article at the bottom:
Antisocial personality disorder, sometimes identified interchangeably as sociopathy or psychopathy, is defined by the Mayo Clinic as: “A mental condition in which a person consistently shows no regard for right and wrong and ignores the rights and feelings of others. People with antisocial personality disorder tend to antagonize, manipulate or treat others harshly or with callous indifference. They show no guilt or remorse for their behavior.”
3. Lack of Empathy & Cold-Heartedness  
“Sociopathy is, at its very essence, ice-cold.”
— Martha Stout
Research by neuroscientist Adrian Raine reveals that people with antisocial personality disorder have fewer cells in their prefrontal cortex ― considered the most evolved region of the brain. The prefrontal cortex is responsible for, among many functions, the capacity to understand other people’s feelings (empathy), the capacity to make sound, principled judgement (ethics), and the capacity to learn from life experience (reflection).
As sociopaths/psychopaths lack empathy, ethics, and reflection, they also tend to be unfeeling and cold-hearted toward the pain and suffering they cause others. This lack of humanity has several dangerous implications:
A.  It compels the sociopath/psychopath to commit trespasses with little or no moral conflict.
B.  Knowing the suffering of their victims does not bring about ethical pause. Just the opposite ― it may encourage the sociopath/psychopath to do more harm (for they feel like they’re “winning”).
Read the full article [HERE]. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

'And breathe': police try mindfulness to beat burnout

Police officers will be taught mindfulness techniques such as slower breathing during the eight-week course.

This article can serve as a great reminder to those who constantly work in crisis situations that having a wellness/self-care plan in place is not just important, I would go as far as saying it is required. It can help you be more effective during crisis incidents as well as make you be calmer and overall more relaxed. [Here's some examples of mindfulness practices]

The College of Policing is to fund a trial of a secular version of mindfulness training for more than 1,500 officers in part to combat soaring stress and anxiety in the service, which has forced record numbers to take time off sick in the past year. Its backers hope to improve officers’ management of high-adrenaline confrontations, make them more alert when gathering evidence, improve listening skills when dealing with witnesses and victims and even help firearms officers make better decisions.

...There are early signs of possible effectiveness in policing. An initial trial in Bedfordshire suggested work-related-burnout was, on average, lower for 72 people who used the techniques and an internal report concluded: “Participants reported sleeping better, being able to reduce pain medication and feeling calmer and less reactive.”

...Stress is a serious problem for the police. Nearly 10,000 officers, equivalent to one in 12, took time off sick with stress or anxiety over the past year, according to figures released this summer.

Read the full article [HERE].

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

WSNA Annual Conference

The Western States Hostage Negotiators' Association

is excited to announce their 33rd Annual Training Seminar & HNT Competition.

April 7th, 2019 Negotiation Team Competition
Evening of April 7th, 2019 Registration & Networking
April 8th-10th, 2019 Training Seminar
Evenings of April 8th & 9th Networking/Team Building Events

The Historic Davenport Hotel, Spokane, Washington
WSHNA Room Rate is $119.00/night for both the
Historic Davenport Hotel and the Davenport Tower

Information at, to include; registration, book your hotel rooms, presenter's bio's, presentation synopsis, event schedule, & Alaska Air discount. WSHNA is also on Facebook under our full name. Our web site will have all the latest information.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Two Signs Of A Panic Attack Coming On

Two Signs Of A Panic Attack Coming On post image

Empathy is critical to being an effective negotiator and helping someone through a crisis. Learn more about what a person is experiencing, especially the physical symptoms, when they are in the midst of a panic attack via the Psy Blog:

With panic attacks, people often report that they happen spontaneously, without being cued by anything specific.
But this research suggests they are a result of being very vigilant to relatively small fluctuations in heart rate and breathing that build up over up to an hour.
...The classic psychological signs of a panic attack are:
  • feeling of unreality,
  • fear of losing control,
  • and fear of dying.
The physical signs are:
  • shortness of breath,
  • heart racing,
  • dizziness,
  • chest pain,
  • sweating,
  • hot flashes,
  • trembling,
  • choking,
  • nausea,
  • and numbness
Read more [HERE].