Saturday, November 11, 2023

Crisis Hostage Negotiation Newsletter [November 2023]

1. Hostage freed after hours-long standoff at Las Vegas Strip resort room

A man was arrested and a woman described as his hostage was released unharmed Tuesday after an hours-long standoff in a room at the Caesars Palace resort on the Las Vegas Strip, police said.
No injuries were reported and police did not immediately say if the hostage-taker had been armed in a high-rise tower of the iconic Las Vegas Boulevard property. Furniture, cushions and other objects fell from a 21st floor window, frightening guests in a swimming pool area below.

Read more:

2. Push to Free Israeli Hostages in Gaza Hindered by Mistrust, Anger, Confusion

Hopes of a breakthrough have repeatedly faded, leaving the fate of more than 200 prisoners uncertain
[paywall] read more:

3. Israel and Hamas Nearly Struck a Deal to Free Up to 50 Hostages

...So far, the negotiations have only focused on releasing civilian hostages, according to these officials. The Israeli soldiers held in Gaza may eventually be part of a separate track of negotiations, possibly to be exchanged for hundreds of Palestinian women and minors who are held without charge in Israeli prisons.
Read more:

4. Israel sees 'sign of life' in Gaza hostage videoNote: this is interesting and explains why hostage videos are not shown:

The BBC will not be broadcasting the clip itself, which is more than three minutes long. Prisoners of war and hostages are protected under international humanitarian law, and the BBC does not broadcast material which may have been filmed under duress.

5. 'We will kill you': I was held hostage in a war zone. Years later, the trauma remains.

After the Hamas attack last month, I knew that I could not bear to see the videos or images of civilian victims of the fighting in Israel and Gaza.I know firsthand what it is like to be taken hostage. 
... I am a nurse, and in July 2018, six of my colleagues and I were taken captive for four days by a rebel group in Cameroon. Our team was trying to offer primary care to civilians in the central African country, where a separatist war was erupting.
Read more:

Do you know about Hostage US?

Hostage US is a 501c3 organization that ensures American hostages, wrongful detainees and their families get the support and guidance they need to survive the challenge of a kidnapping. 
We provide support free of charge and on a fully confidential basis. We are independent of any private interests so we can serve the needs of hostages and their families. We are family first – family last.
Read more:

Did you know the NYAHN offers KfR (Kidnap for Ransom) Training?

6. Cops open fire on hostage-taking kidnappers after 4-hour standoff in victim’s semi-truck: video

A multi-county police chase turned into a 4-hour hostage standoff in the middle of an Ohio highway before cops opened fire on the two suspects, who later died Wednesday morning.

Harrowing footage showed several Ohio Highway Patrol Troopers in tactical gear approach the hijacked semi-truck in an attempt to free the driver, who was believed to have been held hostage inside by a 54-year-old man and his 51-year-old wife.

Read more:

7. Man arrested at Hamburg Airport (Germany) after nearly 18-hour hostage standoff

BERLIN (AP) — The hostage situation at Hamburg Airport ended Sunday afternoon, around 18 hours after a man drove his vehicle through the gates of the airport with his 4-year-old daughter inside, authorities said. The man was arrested and the girl appears to be unharmed.

Read more:

8. Nebraska police standoff ends with arrest and safe hostage release

Nebraska police on Wednesday arrested a 37-year-old man after a nearly 30-hour standoff and the release of three hostages, including two children...
The man backed out of plans to release the woman multiple times during negotiations with an FBI hostage rescue team and other law enforcement officials, Overman said. The man shot about seven rounds at law enforcement during the standoff.
Read more:

9. Manhunt for Ohio murder suspect ends with hostage situation and deadly standoff at gas station in West Virginia

A man suspected of a killing in Ohio and multiple carjackings in Kentucky was killed by West Virginia police in a standoff outside a gas station where he was holding three hostages...
Kenova Police Chief Bob Sullivan told CBS affiliate WOWK-TV that a hostage negotiator with the West Virginia State Police Special Response Team talked with Maynard for an hour and a half.


(Green = I'm speaking at it)
NTOA - Nov. 13-16

NECNA Regional Training (members only)
ADVANCED CRISIS NEGOTIATOR COURSE: Suicide, Depression & Anxiety - Understanding the Research to Save Lives
December 5 - CT
December 6 - MA

7th Annual NYPD & NYAHN Training Seminar

Crisis Negotiators - Oklahoma
April 10, 2024

38th Annual Training Seminar & HNT Competition
April 28, 2024 to May 1, 2024
Boise Convention Centre & The Grove Hotel
Boise, Idaho

16th Annual NYAHN Conference - Rochester NY

Sept. 23-27, 2024

Hostages, SWAT officer, suspect dead in Austin, TX, after maniac traps victims

 A deranged man barricaded in a house in Austin, Texas with two hostages opened fire on police officers and killed a member of a SWAT team.

The violence unfolded in South Austin around 4 a.m. when Austin Police SWAT officers forced entry into the home where the maniac was allegedly armed with a knife and gun and had trapped hostages, Interim Chief of Police Robin Henderson announced at a press conference on Saturday morning.

Read more: 

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Crisis Hostage Negotiation Newsletter [March, 2023]

 10 years of the (free) Crisis Negotiator Skills Sheet

It's been 10 years since I created the above skills sheet. Just a reminder, it's 100% free for you to use with your police negotiation teams. If you want the PDF, just email me. 

Amazon delivery driver goes viral for dropping off package during a police standoff in North Carolina

The video, posted on March 18, the Amazon worker is seen toting a small box up to the driveway where the apparent standoff is taking place, taking officers by surprise. As soon as they see him, they tell him to stop...

The True Story Behind ‘Waco: American Apocalypse’

Nearly 30 years later, we remain fascinated by the events at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas

S'pore police negotiator once spent 21 hours convincing man not to jump off 7-story high crane

“People cope with difficulties in life in different ways, so we don’t try to downplay what people are going through," Bala explained.

“The feeling of being able to save a life at the end of it is actually very rewarding. That’s why our negotiators keep doing this year after year.”
Read more HERE

Papua New Guinea hostage taking a ‘spur of the moment decision’

The decision to take the Australian-based New Zealand archaeologist Prof Bryce Barker and his research team hostage near remote Mount Bosavi in Papua New Guinea was a “spur of the moment” decision by their captors, two of whom had been shot in an earlier encounter with security guards at a logging site.

4 Keys to Responding to a Child Expressing Thoughts of Suicide

Tips that can help both in your work and personal lives
Here are some thoughts to ground you in those first critical moments when your child makes a declaration or when you become aware that they are struggling with suicidal ideation. These thoughts should help you respond in the most supportive way...

Niger Credited With Negotiating Release of US Aid Worker, French Journalist

Kidnappings in the Sahel are growing at an alarming rate. Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger saw a combined 532 abductions in 2022, up from to 33 in 2017, according to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project. Some 115 abduction incidents have already been recorded in the region this year.
Read more HERE

Sharpen Those Skills

I'm not sure if you've heard of the "13 Behaviors of High-Trust Leaders" but if you'd like, have a look and reflect on how each, when practiced, can make you both a better negotiator and member of your team.

Click here



Trainings, workshops, conferences, and more (April - June)

Trainings I'm involved in:

Other trainings

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Crisis Hostage Negotiator Newsletter - January 2023

 Happy new year everyone. I hope the new year is off to a great start for each of you. Make sure to have a look at each story below, I think they are all worth it. One of the best ways to stay sharp is reading!

Last month we held our 3rd annual Resilience Symposium where for the latest version, we had space experts from NASA and other organizations share about their great work and resilience. A bunch of video snippets and full sessions have already been uploaded. Take just over one minute to watch this one - I think it will resonate with many of you. 

Police Resilience Training (Free!)
Due to some partnerships and grants, I have some opportunities to provide free (yes free!) resilience training for police personnel. These workshops have already been given to police personnel across the country (and world) with some really great feedback and published research on it.

At the moment, there are opportunities for agencies in the following locations only:
  • Long Island (NY)
  • New Hampshire
  • Connecticut 
  • Maine
  • Maryland
Last thing I will say is if you know me, this type of training is not "check box training" - it's designed by police for police. These training and workshops have also be given specifically to negotiator teams including those recently in the FBI - NJ and Toronto.

If your agency is interested (this is not for individuals to sign up), send me an email, or a message on LinkedIn. 

42nd Annual Hostage Negotiation Seminar
Once again one of the top negotiator events of the year is coming up. Make sure to mark your calendar. Have a look at the image, so really interesting presentations. 

Crisis Negotiator Skills: The Experts Weigh In

(From the article) 90% either always or usually debrief after an incident. This highlights the importance of reflecting afterwards on what worked and did not work in order to improve effectiveness for the next incident. Experts in crisis incidents do not “wing it.” Rather, they know what works, how it works, and analyze incidents afterwards in order to continue doing what is effective and know what is not effective so they can try to avoid it next time.

Read the article at Psychology Today here.

‘You’re pathetic.’ Texas police negotiator insults man on ledge, stirring anger online

Mississippi police kill woman holding hostage inside Walmart store and demanding to speak to a news anchor
A video posted to social media showed a woman holding a gun in one hand and using the other hand to hold onto a person wearing a Walmart employee vest. The woman with the gun yelled that she needed help and wanted to talk to a news anchor.

Ransomware Attacks: Tips And Tricks For Getting A Favorable Deal
3. Be Honest
Trust me when I say people can see through falsehoods, sooner or later. If you’re trying to buy time or mislead the attacker, it can cause them to cut off communications, and that’s the last thing you want. So, be honest and tell them that you need time to arrange the money. Or, you can even tell them that their demands are beyond your capacity. This sort of blunt honesty might bring you closer to finalizing a deal.

(Movie Review) 'The Point Men' recounts S. Korean hostage crisis in Afghanistan
"The Point Men" sheds light on the 2007 South Korean hostage crisis in Afghanistan by focusing on the desperate rescue efforts, walking the fine line between what happened on stage and behind the scenes.
...In July 2007, 23 South Korean missionaries are taken hostage by the Taliban, and a South Korean negotiation team is dispatched to Afghanistan.

Northeastern professor’s new book trains crisis negotiators for life-or-death calls
“From these maps,” Kevoe-Feldman says, “we can identify specific patterns and communication practices that work well, and we can pinpoint points of miscommunication.”

Did you know? Hostage negotiators sharpen their skills in San Marcos
The training this week at Texas State University this year attracted almost 30 hostage negotiation teams from across the U.S. and from as far away as Singapore.
Read more from CBS Austin.

Kidnapping for ransom: the new normal
...The abductor directed her to bring the money to Adama without stating where. As soon as they have the money, her brother will be released, the abductor said.
The conversation went on. “I’ve never seen that much money. How am I going to get you this right now?” she asked. The kidnapper immediately lost interest in continuing the conversation. She insisted on engaging in bargaining, giving her a little bit more time to speak.
Read more from The Reporter here

The Art of Hostage Negotiations—When You’re the Hostage

Naked man held grocery store clerk hostage at gunpoint, court documents say

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Crisis Hostage Negotiation Newsletter [Oct. 18, 2022]

Hello everyone,

If you read one article, make it this first one below. Just a quick disclaimer as it can be triggering for some as it talks about the horrors of policing, and specific examples this Aussie negotiator went through. Ultimately, know that his story is one of hope. 

And, let it serve as a reminder, we are humans doing incredible work but we are human nonetheless. It's ok to reach out for help because after all, that is what real strength is and each of you have it in you. 

Before moving on, one quick announcement. I am happy to officially announce for the 3rd straight year, the resilience symposium will be back. This year's theme is:

2022 Resilience Symposium: In Awe of Space

In this year's 2-day virtual event you will learn about the awe-inspiring work of current and former NASA employees as well as other space experts. Last year we had over 1,000 attendees from +30 countries. This year it will once again be free to attend. 

The hostage negotiator on life, death and redemption

Many of us think of the hard edge of policing as an urban problem and that the work of country cops is a little more gentle. The truth is, in the city there are specialists. In the bush, you just have to find the answers yourself.
...“I had a career that was surrounded by death and more death.”

[Ransomware negotiation]
Ransomware Negotiation Evolves, as Victims Hope for Discounts
Last month, a ransomware negotiator working for a European manufacturing company received an unexpected chat message from the intruders who’d hacked his client.

The negotiator, who spoke to Bloomberg on the condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to discuss the incident, is among a growing field of security pros who help companies that are victims of ransomware attacks haggle with the hackers, trying to convince them to reduce their demands.
...Richardson, who works on behalf of the families of American hostages and detainees, has twice traveled to Moscow to help free the WNBA superstar and ex-US Marine — both of whom have been wrongfully detained by Russia for extended periods of time.

[How is your team training for school incidents?]
Sheriff’s Crisis Negotiations Team Recently Trained on School SafetyCrisis negotiators trained for school safety situations during recent exercises at Rockvale High School, said Lt. Derek Oeser of the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Crisis Negotiations Team.

[Using third-party intermediaries] 
Local attorney helps Dearborn police negotiate with active shooter
DEARBORN, Mich. (WXYZ) — When Gabi Silver’s phone rang Thursday, she had no idea she’d be spending more than four hours helping negotiate with a barricaded gunman at a Dearborn hotel.

“At some point are you thinking I can’t believe this is happening? Repeatedly I thought it,” said Gabi Silver, attorney who negotiated with shooter.

[Negotiating with a cop in crisis]
Retired Seattle cop arrested after five-hour standoff in Mount Vernon, Wash.

[How's your equipment doing!?]
SPD looking to buy new Hostage Negotiation Team vehicle to replace one damaged by mice, water

[Kidnap Negotiation/Terrorism]
The Vatican’s fraud and corruption trial took a dramatic twist Wednesday when a once-powerful cardinal challenged the Vatican’s police commissioner on the stand about one of the more peculiar tangents of the case: the Vatican’s half-million euro payments to a self-styled security analyst who, with Pope Francis’ blessing, helped arrange negotiations for the release of a nun held hostage by Islamic militants.

[International Negotiation]
Taliban release American Mark Frerichs in prisoner swap
"The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is ready to solve problems by negotiation with all, including the United States," Muttaqi said, per Reuters.

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Crisis Hostage Negotiation Newsletter [07.07.22]

Increasing Crisis Hostage Negotiator Effectiveness: Embracing Awe and Other Resilience Practices 

This exploratory Article examines the skills that make law enforcement negotiators effective and proposes how experiencing awe and a variety of other resilience practices can potentially enhance their abilities. 

Read more HERE, share your thoughts on the LinkedIn post HERE

Police officers pose as TV news crew to end hostage situation

The suspect agreed to release his hostage on one condition: a news crew would broadcast his complaints.
Read more HERE

‘The birthplace of hostage negotiation’: inside a groundbreaking 1973 standoff

In compelling new film Hold Your Fire, a siege that pitted black robbers against white US police led to an unlikely outcome.

... “[Those movies] tend to tell a false story about heroism and manhood that is enormously destructive to American males,” says Forbes on a separate Zoom call from a friend’s apartment in New York. “We always valorize the macho soldier or the Navy Seal. Making this film, I wanted to valorize the 99lb Jewish intellectual with a big shelf of books.”

Forbes, speaking with a calming, mellow and thoughtful drawl, is describing the late Dr Harvey Schlossberg, the godfather of hostage negotiators who died just last year after filming interviews for Hold Your Fire.
Read more and watch the trailer HERE.

Columbus PD’s Hostage Crisis Negotiation Team sees high success rate over the last decade
“One thing you got to have is dedicated people, and we do. I’m just fortunate that we have good people on this team, and it doesn’t come down to me. It’s a team effort, and it doesn’t matter if I’m doing the negotiating or somebody else on the team; when we get this person to come out, it’s a win for all of us. So, it’s not it’s not me. It’s the team that should take the credit for it,” Lt. McCarty shares.
Read more HERE

Gladbeck: The Hostage Crisis Review: 54 Hours Of Horror, Straight Out Of A Movie
Gladbeck: The Hostage Crisis is a true-crime documentary released on Netflix on 8 June 2022. The hostage crisis actually happened in 1988, in West Germany and the documentary is entirely made from real footage from media and CCTV cameras. It is directed by Volker Heise and shows how two criminals rob a bank, take two hostages and embark on an odyssey across Germany.
Read more HERE.

Crisis negotiation – what I learned from my first deployment
Sergeant Ben Hanson, South Yorkshire Police (United Kingdom)

An acute crisis incident occurred in which the subject, a young woman, was sitting on the edge of the top floor of a 19-storey car park.

I joined a colleague (Negotiator 1), who had been with me on my national course. This was our first full-on crisis deployment and, as I arrived, I had a good idea of how he might be feeling.

Looking up at the car park, I could see how high it was. I’m not great with heights. I could feel the fear rising as the adrenaline coursed through me, but I just had to suck it up and get on with it.

Once I got to the top, my training kicked in. I knew the risk was extremely high, as the subject was regularly moving, as if to jump. Her welfare was of paramount importance, and so we intervened regularly to distract her from jumping.
Read more HERE.

Multi-agency crisis negotiation course begins at training center in Oriskany (NY)
Crisis negotiators from police agencies across the state gathered at the New York State Preparedness Center in Oriskany on Wednesday for the start of the first-ever advanced crisis negotiation course.

The course trains negotiators on best practices to deescalate tense situations through the use of real-world scenarios, like someone acting manic or threatening suicide while armed.

"We are all very fortunate to have the State Preparedness Center up here, it is top notch, it is right in our backyard and you got instructors from all over the state," said Sgt. Benny Perra of the Utica Police Department. "It is just a wealth of knowledge up here and we are just looking to advance our skills as crisis negotiators."
Read more HERE.

IS terrorists who kidnapped James Foley ignored efforts to negotiate, court hears
The Islamic State terrorists who kidnapped American journalist James Foley never made serious attempts to negotiate a ransom before brutally executing him, family members have told a court.
Read more HERE.

Journalists will be safer if US changes tack on kidnapping
The American no-concessions approach could be justified if it made Americans safer, as President Obama argued. But there is little evidence that this is the case. Numerous studies have concluded that kidnapping is largely a crime of opportunity—terrorist groups generally nab foreign hostages without checking passports.

Brian Jenkins, a former US Green Beret and current Rand Corporation analyst—and one of the nation’s leading experts on hostage policy—put it this way: “The most powerful determinant of whether or not there will be further kidnappings is not the policy of the government, but the fate of kidnappers or their organization. If kidnappers are apprehended and appropriately punished…then kidnapping will decline. If this is not done, then it does not make any difference what the policy is.”
Read more HERE.

Summer Reading
On your next trip to the beach, grab some reading material:

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Crisis Hostage Negotiation Newsletter [May 4, 2022]

Manhunts: A Role for Crisis Negotiators

Over the last 20 years, the FBI’s Crisis Negotiation Unit (CNU) has been involved in several significant, internationally known manhunt investigations, including those targeting the Washington, D.C., snipers and the Boston Marathon bombers. With today’s cell phones and social media, crisis negotiators have enhanced the goals of law enforcement in manhunts.

This article addresses several methods negotiators can use to increase the likelihood of apprehending subjects and reduce the risk to law enforcement. Additionally, the authors offer case examples to illustrate lessons learned and best practices...

I highly recommend you read this full article from the FBI Bulletin here

What Trevor Reed Reveals about Joe Biden’s Cautious Approach to Releasing American Hostages
President Joe Biden waited until former Marine Trevor Reed was out of Moscow, had been successfully exchanged for a Russian prisoner in Turkey, and was safely on a plane bound for the U.S. before calling Reed’s family.
Reed had spent nearly 3 years in a Russian jail after being arrested in 2019 on charges of assaulting police in Moscow....
Reed’s release comes at a time when experts involved in helping negotiate the release of Americans detained overseas are seeing an uptick in Americans being arrested and held as bargaining chips, including in Venezuela, Iran, China. Venezuela recently released some Americans, after a visit from a high-level U.S. delegation, and holds several others.
Read more from here

In Nigeria, A Hostage Negotiator's Big Test: Freeing His Wife
... Using only his iPhone, Mr. Tumburkai has become part of an informal world of volunteer negotiators - representing families, communities, and themselves - working to bring hostages back home. 

Meet the Fortune Teller-Approved Negotiation Tactic Used by Execs at Samsung, McDonald's, and More
By using a psychological technique called the Forer effect (named after psychologist Bertram Forer), which often involves making flattering but general statements about the person you're trying to influence, you can quickly develop a rapport with people--and you can get them to open up. It's a trick that Washington, D.C., publicist Adele Cehrs and New York City-based former FBI crisis hostage negotiator Chip Massey commonly teach clients through their consulting firm, Convincing Company.
Catchy title right? Some good tips and reminders, have a look here. 

U.S. reclassifies WNBA star Brittney Griner as 'wrongfully detained' by Russia
A source close to Griner also confirmed Monday that former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson, who has worked privately for years as an international hostage negotiator, agreed to work on Griner's case last week. Experts have said Richardson's involvement would be a crucial sign that her case has moved into a new realm.
Until now, Griner's personal team had followed State Department advice to keep a low profile so as not to make her a more valuable asset to Vladimir Putin's government.
Defusing dangerous situations: How Tucson PD's Hostage Negotiators answer crisis calls
“We really have to meet people with a sense of human-ness,” she explained. “We’re not really there trying to be like ‘Who, what, when, why and where?’ That traditional cop.”
The team receives about 30 calls a year...
Read more and watch the video at here

Research: Current trends in hostage/crisis negotiation nomenclature and training
The survey obtained responses from 46 states that included municipal, county and state agencies, ranging in size from less than 25 officers to over 2,500. Negotiation teams represented in the survey ranged from having over 50 negotiators to areas where it was necessary to band together and create regional teams...

In addition to the previous eligibility requirements, over 43% of respondents stated that their teams allowed specific non-sworn members to join their negotiation teams, with psychologists (30%) and dispatchers (12%) forming the largest groups.

11 Hours of Fear, Negotiation and Finally, Relief
The F.B.I. identified Malik Faisal Akram, a British national, as the man who took hostages in a Texas synagogue on Saturday. He was killed during the rescue operation

“The negotiation team had a high frequency and duration of contact with him,” Mr. DeSarno said. There were times when the communication ceased, he said. The “relationship” between Mr. Akram and the negotiators, according to Mr. DeSarno, “ebbed and flowed a little bit” and sometimes “got intense.”
Read more from the here


Buffalo, NY May 24-27

Scottsdale, AZ Nov 14-17

Full list of events HERE

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Conferences & Events Page Updated

The events and conferences page has been updated for 2022.

Check it out HERE

Crisis Hostage Negotiation Newsletter [December 26, 2021]

UN lockdown: NYPD take man with gun into custody following hours-long negotiations

The man who held a loaded shotgun below his chin outside the United Nations headquarters Thursday as NYPD officers negotiated with him for hours until he finally surrendered wanted papers and other documents delivered to the intergovernmental organization, police executives said at a press conference.

What is a Good Question?

Check out this snippet from the world of "narrative medicine." I've found the best way to keep myself sharp with my crisis communication skills is by exploring how the skills are used outside my direct profession. Note the caption below (and I suggest you read the whole article) on being curious leads to being genuine and not just asking the "right questions" but asking them the "right" way:

Patients often report that it wasn’t the questioning that helped most in a conversation (at least so far as they can remember) but the overall stance of curiosity in their interviewer. Indeed, we have often seen clunky questions do the trick so long as the interviewer was genuinely engaged and curious. ‘Text book’ questioning can achieve nothing at all if delivered in a way that seems rehearsed or inauthentic.

I'm a SPF crisis negotiator. This is what it's like handling suicide interventions & prolonged stand-offs.

Superintendent McIntyre Rosie Ann, who has been with the Crisis Negotiation Unit since 2012, offers her perspective on these life-threatening situations.
...Sometimes, they may say things in a certain manner but they mean something else. There’s an underlying meaning. So we have to pay attention to all the small details to really understand what’s the underlying problem they are facing.

Abducted Haiti missionaries describe daring escape

Twelve missionaries who were abducted in Haiti managed to get away on their own, their organisation has said.
The group escaped their captors at night and used the stars for navigation to trek through dense bush for hours, a spokesman said.
...The gang that seized them had demanded a ransom of $1m (£740,000) per hostage. It is not clear if any money was paid.
...At the time of their release, police spokesman Gary Desrosiers told AFP news agency there had been weeks of negotiations between the gang, known as 400 Mazowo, and authorities.

Moonshine stills and a marijuana grow found after Wednesday’s Harrah standoff, negotiator describes sequence of events

“I don’t know if he’s a good guy, bad guy or any other guy, he’s a person in crisis and he needs some help and we’re all human beings,” said Davenport, a 10-year veteran negotiator with the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office.

Awe & Wonder

Research has shown that experiencing awe can have numerous benefits, including emotional control, improved focus, better decision-making, humbleness, and curiosity (hmm there's that word again!). Aren't all of those what contribute to being a good negotiator? Who would have ever thought awe moments could lead to that. 

Here is a short awe exercise video that I have used in police trainings (including homicide investigators). It starts with a one-minute breathing exercise [HERE].  

After trying this out, send me an email and let me know what you think.

Negotiators Getting Promoted

Keechant Sewell to Become First Woman to Lead N.Y.P.D
In 23 years with the Nassau Police Department, Chief Sewell, who grew up in Queens, worked in the narcotics and major cases units, and as a hostage negotiator. She was promoted to chief of detectives in September 2020.

Deputy police chief selected in South Portland
Kevin Gerrish joined the department 20 years ago and has commanded the Southern Maine Regional Crisis Negotiator Team.

Meet Charles Roca, Allentown’s first Latino police chief
From there, Roca quickly built a body of experience on the vice unit, as a certified K9 handler and as a member of the crisis negotiation team.

Does the US pay ransom for kidnapped Americans?

Officially, when it comes to Americans kidnapped overseas and held for ransom, the U.S. government has a “no ransom” policy. However, as Aaron Nolan showed in a Friday morning Smart Board segment, there are “asterisks” at play in that policy.

Concord police tout Crisis Negotiation Team

"No matter what my title is, it doesn't matter. No matter what I'm wearing, it doesn't matter. It's just Shasta talking to them,'" she said. "I want to know what they care about, and I really want to know why they're in that situation. Why have they barricaded themselves? Why are they on top of this bridge?"

Deputies Take Different Approach To Law Enforcement Through New Program“

Almost everything we have to do is negative,” Warrell said. “There’s only a handful of things people want to see us for, so we’re inclined to see someone in crisis.”

Up-coming events of interest:

Atlanta, GA March 15-17

Nashville, TN Jan 31 - Feb 1

Buffalo, NY May 24-27

Thursday, February 18, 2021

An Executive Guide to Successful Cyber Extortion Negotiation

 Are You Extortion-Ready? An Executive Guide to Successful Cyber Extortion Negotiation

Are You Extortion-Ready? An Executive Guide to Successful Cyber Extortion Negotiation

(Via Fireeye): Cyber extortion incidences are increasing at an unprecedented rate, and with them, crypto-extortion demands are skyrocketing. Negotiations often lead to cyber claims of $1 million or more, not to mention a host of legal issues. When the worst happens, you need to know how to respond, and how to determine when the time is right to engage external counsel. This panel discussion will walk through a successful intelligence-led cyber extortion event, highlight best practices for those first critical hours, and give you the information you need to empower your organization against a malicious adversary.

More here from Fire Eye

Kimberly Horn, Global Claims Team Leader, Cyber & Tech Claims – Beazley (Moderator)
Navid Jam, Managing Director, Mandiant Consulting – FireEye
Steven B. Roosa, Head of NRF Digital Analytics and Technology Assessment Platform, United States – Norton Rose
Bill Siegel, CEO, Co-Founder – Coveware

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Negotiations during a Ransomware Attack; a perspective from 2 professional Hostage Negotiators

Many crisis management situations do not only require high-pressure analyses and decision making but solid communication – and (in worst case scenario) negotiation skills. Sue Williams and Jacob van ‘t Slot, 2 expert hostage negotiators, discuss how negotiation tactics can help organisations mitigate the consequences of a ransomware attack, and what factors to consider when negotiating with adversaries. They position negotiation in the context of Crisis Management and evaluate the differences and similarities of cyber extortion cases and situations where lives are at stake.

Both Jacob and Sue are experienced negotiators operating sometimes in the real-, sometimes in the virtual- but always in the shady world and with a lot at stake. Sue was in charge of the Kidnap and the Hostage Crisis Negotiation Units at Scotland Yard, and advised the UK government on cases of kidnap and abduction. She teaches hostage negotiation tactics at Harvard University, and is still active as a kidnap response and cyber extortion consultant. Jacob has a background in psychology, security and crisis management, and has worked as a kidnap response consultant at the Netherlands Ministry of Security and Justice. Jacob lectures at the Harvard Humanitarian Academy, and develops the SECO-Institute’s crisis management education program.

This write up guides you through the process of a ransomware attack, and how to prepare and conduct cyber negotiations with your opponents...

  1. Key Takeaways

  • Require ‘Proof of Life’ in the broadest sense of the definition: Are they able to execute the cyber- attack they are threating with? And in case of a ransomware attack: Are they able to actually decrypt your files, even if they decide to do so? There are a lot of poorly designed ransomware products on the market that can actually destroy your data. As a negotiator, ask them to decrypt a test file.
  • Define clear objectives for your negotiation strategy: Are you buying time while the IT Department is solving the issue? Are you aiming to mitigate the damage, to lower the ransom?
I highly recommend reading the full article from the Seco Institute [HERE].

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

February 2021 Newsletter

1. Inside Look Into The NYPD Hostage Negotiation Team (Video)
When Richmond Hill, Queens, became a hostage negotiation scene on Tuesday, chief investigative reporter Jonathan Dienst was there. He breaks down what happened – and why.
[Read more]

2. From Kidnappings to Hostage Negotiations: Here's What the 'SAS Training' That Meghan Markle Was Reportedly Given Involves
'Staged kidnappings involve the individual being tied up to restrict mobility and their head being covered with a bag,' says a hostile environment training expert.
...Andrew Toze, chief instructor at Hostile Environment Training Ltd, says the training helps to overcome your natural response: “[Being] paralysed by fear is a common natural phenomena that is a direct result of the senses being overwhelmed and therefore the body struggling to make conscious thoughts or reactions to a situation. The training would involve forcing this reaction in an individual through physical contact, extreme aggression, gunfire, smoke and speed.”
[Read more]
This article is about you and looking after each other and our families
The year 2020 has exacted a psychological toll on Americans. Levels of anxiety and depression have skyrocketed alongside increases in drug overdoses and alcohol consumption.

“There’s a difference between being alone and feeling alone,” said John Draper, executive director of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. “Feeling alone is feeling like nobody cares about you, nobody values you, so it’s really important now for us to let people who we care about or we’re worried about know how much we care about them and value them.”

It is also important to pay attention to an “absence of things,” said Nadine Kaslow, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. If people are ignoring your phone calls and text messages, not posting on social media as frequently as they used to or are declining invitations to virtual holiday celebrations, those are potentially concerning signs, Kaslow said.

[Read more]

4. Crack garda team saved eight Irish citizens kidnapped abroad
The role played by highly trained members of the Garda national negotiation unit, which is part of the force's Special Tactics and Operations Command (STOC), has not previously been revealed.
...Gardai have been deployed on the ground dealing with incidents in Ghana, Nigeria, Sudan and Cambodia and worked closely there with officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and local authorities.

5. Calls for police crisis negotiations in 2020 triple previous record set in 2019
Police saw demand for crisis negotiations shatter that record in 2019, with 40 calls for help in high-risk situations with people harboring suicidal thoughts; holding hostages; or refusing to comply with a warrant.
"Most notably, CNT has seen a spike in suicide intervention calls in 2020...
[Read more]

6. Unique Negotiations: Texas State University Hosts 31st Annual Hostage Negotiation Competition
Texas State’s hostage negotiation competition has grown in its 31 years. Mullins said that it began as a friendly wager between law enforcement in Austin and San Antonio, then it expanded to four teams, then eight and in 2020 the competition saw 40 teams from around the globe.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Mullins said he wasn’t sure this year’s event would occur. But Texas State approved a limited competition for 2021 with only nine teams competing, including members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. 
Click the link to see who won! Great work yet again by pulling this event off by Wayman and team!
“He walked into the front doors of the police department. He pulled a knife out and put it to the girl’s throat,” he said. “He requested police officers to shoot him and to kill him.”
[Read more]

8. Parsons (Kansas) Police arrest suspect after 23-hour long standoff
Police in Parsons, Kansas shortly before 3 P.M. on January 29 arrested a suspect in a hostage situation that lasted 23 hours. Officials say they received word that a 35-year-old male had locked himself and a child relative in a house, and that the male was possibly armed. Authorities say they tried to negotiate with the suspect for 23 hours
Sounds like a great story for a conference debriefing, especially with personnel deployment, breaks, relief, etc. 

9. Insight into the vital tactics of a SWAT negotiator
CAPE CORAL, Fla. — David Thomas, a professor of Forensic Studies at Florida Gulf Coast University says it’s all about negotiators building trust with the suspect, during SWAT situations.
“ I don’t look at SWAT’s job as necessarily helping, I look at their job as protection and containment. The other job to that, is hostage negotiation, and that's an entirely different job,” said Thomas.

10. (RESEARCH)  From deployment to debriefing: Introducing the D.I.A.M.O.N.D. model of hostage and crisis negotiation
Even if you are not a researcher, push yourself a bit outside your comfort zone. Read this article to learn about this model and dig a bit into the research behind these skills because after, to have an expertise requires 1) continual practice and 2) understanding the science behind the art form of crisis communication. 
So, go ahead and click below!
[Read more and then click "download PDF file' to read the full paper]

11. EVENTS (Date order)

Fraternal Order of Police Officer Wellness Summit

'Moral Injury': Police Resilience Symposium Webinar

International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Officer Safety & Wellness Symposium

International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA) Evidence in Action Conference

Law Enforcement and Public Health (LEPH) Conference
March 22-26

Crisis Negotiators of Oklahoma

American Association of Suiciology 

Western States Hostage Negotiators

New York Association of Hostage Negotiators Annual Conference

Florida Association of Hostage Negotiators