Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Best Practices if an Employee is Taken Hostage


What is my duty of care to employees who have been taken hostage?

What are the latest kidnapping trends?

How would I help my employee get back to work after being held captive?


Get the answers to these questions and more at our seminar on May 30th in DC. We will review the latest hostage taking trends. We will use case studies and first-hand experience to review duty of care for your employees and their families should they be taken hostage. We will discuss post-captivity support and reintegration, including health and mental health, assistance with practical challenges, best practices regarding returning to work, and strategies to manage the long-term impacts of captivity. You will hear from:
  • Kieran Ramsey, Director, Hostage Recovery Fusion Cell with Diane Ryan, Family Engagement Coordinator, Hostage Recovery Fusion Cell and Hugh Dugan, Principal Deputy Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs;
  • Audrey and Percy Pika, sons of an illegal detainee in the Republic of Congo;
  • Chris Costa, Former Special Assistant to President Trump and Senior Director for Counterterrorism on the NSC alongside Mary McCord, Former Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security at the Department of Justice;
  • Michael Scott Moore, former hostage held in Somalia for 977 days;
  • Michael A. Mason, Senior Vice President, Chief Security Officer, Verizon, and more.

Details
May 30, 2019
8:30 am - 4:30 pm
K&L Gates, 1601 K St. NW, Washington, DC, 20006
Agenda and registration: https://hostageus.org/event/hostage-us-dc-seminar/


Please note, this seminar is not open to media.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Responding to a suicidal person, Fargo police find it's sometimes 'best to back off'

This article offers a reminder that despite our greatest efforts, it does not always go the way we want. That doesn't mean we did anything wrong either- it's the person (subject) who ultimately decides what to do next. This article also gives me a chance to remind everyone working crisis incidents- check in with yourself and each other to make sure you have a self-care plan in place. 


FARGO — Police here did something they don’t often do when dealing with an armed, suicidal man inside an apartment building on a recent Thursday evening.

After exhausting attempts to communicate with him and consulting with his family, officers decided to leave in order to not escalate the situation.

...“We feel that we had the right people out there. It’s just that there isn’t always a good ending to some of these calls — despite our efforts, despite family efforts,” Todd said.

Read more [HERE]. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

A look into a Crisis Negotiation Police Training

HARTFORD -- Sometimes the police SWAT team is tasked with the dangerous mission of ending the stand-off with force...
Sgt. Kurt LaFlamme the Commander of North Central Crisis Negotiation Team describes his teams first goal...
“My goal through the negotiation team is to use our skills and our training to prevent the tactical team from ever having to be used, that’s my goal, to use our team and not have to use the tactical team," said Officer Gary Gray, of the Simsbury Police Department. "For a safe outcome.”

In 2012, in Avon, a police stand-off occurred during a domestic incident. Officer Gray was the negotiator.

“...there was a barricaded suspect, he threatened his girlfriend with a firearm. We establish contact with the individual, we made contact through a phone and then through the negotiation process he refused to answer the phone. So, then we had to use loudspeakers a megaphone. So, I made contact with the individual through the course of many, many hours we are able to negotiate the individual coming out...

Read more and watch the video [HERE]. 

Monday, April 15, 2019

Improve Your Active Listening Skills With These 13 Strategies

Leaders have an overwhelming number of responsibilities, often distracting or isolating them from others. Unfortunately, this sometimes impacts their ability to truly hear their team's concerns and suggestions. They might have good intentions and ask for their workers’ feedback, but are they really absorbing and acting on that information?

2. Learn To P.A.C.E. The Conversation
Open, two-way verbal communication is the foundation of building rapport. Using the PACE formula maximizes interactions and improves active listening. Purpose: Determine the purpose or core of their message. Ask: Respond with a question to dig deeper and encourage more dialog. Connect: Evaluate their body language to confirm rapport or connection. Encourage: Thank them for their input. - Lisa K McDonaldCareer Polish, Inc.
3. Get (And Stay) Curious
The definition of curious is "eager to know or learn something." If we stay curious during a conversation, we are motivated to connect more deeply with what we hear and ask interesting questions to learn more. If this feels unnatural, start to practice by simply asking, "I'm curious to hear more about..." Try to stay focused and get curious again if you notice your listening declines. - Bonnie DavisDestination Up
Read more from Forbes.com [HERE]. 

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Impact of Fear and Anxiety

Once the fear pathways are ramped up, the brain short-circuits more rational processing paths and reacts immediately to signals from the amygdala. When in this overactive state, the brain perceives events as negative and remembers them that way.

...Moreover, fear can interrupt processes in our brains that allow us to regulate emotions, read non-verbal cues and other information presented to us, reflect before acting, and act ethically. This impacts our thinking and decision-making in negative ways, leaving us susceptible to intense emotions and impulsive reactions. All of these effects can leave us unable to act appropriately.


Read more [HERE]. 

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Inside the ransom business


A kidnapper’s phone call announcing that a family member or employee has been abducted is the stuff of nightmares – as is the eye-watering ransom demand that often accompanies this news. How should you respond?

Most kidnappings take place in countries where governments are weak and territory is disputed. Without a police force able to help, you will need to negotiate to get your loved one back. So, what is the “right” price for their life?

When I ask my students this question, their answers range from “I would never pay a criminal or terrorist” to “I’d pay whatever they’re asking for” or “everything I could possibly spare”.

...Some describe this process as wringing the towel dry: kidnappers squeeze and squeeze until the victim’s representatives stick to their answer, “there is no more”. If those paying the ransom permit the kidnappers to literally squeeze them dry, they will pay all they can afford. But knowing that they will have to endure all the painful squeezes (replete with horrendous threats) anyway, they can also set a lower limit and hide some resources from the criminals. If they stick to their guns, they often achieve a release for a small fraction of the first ransom demand.


Read more [HERE].

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Law Enforcement Suicide: How Police and First-Responders Can Support One Another’s Mental Health

Mar. 22, 2019- More law enforcement officers die by suicide than from being killed in the line of duty. For those who dedicate every single day to keeping communities safe, there can be a toll, and this toll isn’t always visible.

The work of a police officer can cause stress, anxiety and depression. It can disrupt sleep, cause friction with family members, create financial worry, and contribute to alcohol abuse and the abuse of prescription pills. It can also lead to a decline in physical health. For some officers, these elements can create a feeling of isolation, hopelessness and helplessness – all risk factors for suicide.

So what can police officers and first responders – as well as their family and friends – do to support each other’s mental health and stop suicide in law enforcement?

Normalizing That “It’s Okay To Not Be Okay”

Law enforcement officers do the work of real-life superheroes, but they are also human, with feelings and emotions. It is normal for them to be impacted by what they see and experience every day. Ignoring one’s emotions doesn’t work. In reality, it makes things worse.

Read more [HERE]. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

How to Listen Like a Hostage Negotiator

“In a volatile situation where someone’s life is on the line, there can be no shortcuts. You must listen, as the hostage taker is all charged up, emotionally and physically.
“He has his goal, so you must hear him out and understand what he wants to accomplish,” Mr. Cohen said. “As a negotiator, you are looking for a win-win situation, and a hostage taker needs an opportunity to vent and let off steam, as their adrenaline is pumping and as they are in the moment. Unless they unload their demands, they don’t have the capacity to hear and consider behavior change.”

Read more [HERE]. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Decision-Making Under Stress: The Brain Remembers Rewards, Forgets Punishments

It's counterintuitive, but under stress we tend to focus more on the rewards than on the risks of any decision.

A new review shows that acute stress affects the way the brain considers the pros and cons, causing it to focus on pleasure and ignore the possible negative consequences of a decision.

The research has implications for everything from obesity and addictions to finance, suggesting that stress may modify the way people make choices in predictable ways.
“Stress affects how people learn,” says Mara Mather, a psychology professor at the University of Southern California and the lead author of the review. “People learn better about positive than negative outcomes under stress.”
...The new review paper also found that stress appears to affect decision-making differently in men and women. While both men and women tend to focus on rewards and less on consequences under stress, their responses to risk turn out to be different.
Read more [HERE]. 

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Weissberg Chair Simon holds Q&A on kidnapping, hostage situations involving journalists


...In his responses, Simon illuminated America’s “no concessions policy,” popularly understood as an official refusal to negotiate with terrorists. This policy was cemented under President Richard Nixon, and is often defended as a way to keep Americans safe while abroad. According to this argument, if terrorists knew that America would pay ransom for its citizens, then Americans would be seen as more valuable, thereby increasing the odds that they would be kidnapped.

According to Simon, there’s no real data to support this argument.
Read more [HERE].

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

The business of kidnapping: inside the secret world of hostage negotiation


Kidnapping and ransom insurance was created in the 1930s, but it wasn’t until the 60s that it began to really catch on, following a spate of kidnappings in Europe by groups such as Eta in Spain, the Red Army Faction in Germany and the Red Brigades in Italy. The appeal was simple: in the event of a kidnapping, the insurance would provide reimbursement for ransom payment.
There were caveats to prevent fraud and to ensure that the existence of the policy did not actually increase the risk of kidnapping. The first was that the policy had to be kept secret. In fact, it could be voided if its existence became public. The concern was that if the kidnappers knew of the policy, they would demand more money.

Read more [HERE]. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Why U.S. policy toward negotiating with terrorists may be risking Americans’ lives

  • Judy Woodruff:
    One of the arguments that is made about all this is that, when you pay, when you say you are willing to pay, you run the risk that you are encouraging more kidnapping, more hostage-taking in the future.
    How do you answer that?
  • Joel Simon:
    Well, first of all, I started, when I did the research, with that assumption. It's logical.
    But the data just doesn't support it. Kidnapping is really a crime of opportunity. And there is no evidence or very little evidence to suggest that kidnappers are checking passports, and your nationality is going to determine whether you're kidnapped or not, regardless of the particular policy that your government has.

Read more [HERE].

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Mental health: What's normal, what's not

Understanding what's considered normal mental health can be tricky. See how feelings, thoughts and behaviors determine mental health and how to recognize if you or a loved one needs help.

Why is it so tough to tell what's normal?

It's often difficult to distinguish normal mental health from mental illness because there's no easy test to show if something's wrong. Also, primary mental health conditions can be mimicked by physical disorders.
Mental health conditions aren't due to a physical disorder and are diagnosed and treated based on signs and symptoms, as well as on how much the condition affects your daily life. For example, a mental health condition can affect your:
  • Behavior. Obsessive hand-washing or drinking too much alcohol might be a sign of a mental health condition.
  • Feelings. Sometimes a mental health condition is characterized by a deep or ongoing sadness, euphoria or anger.
  • Thinking. Delusions — fixed beliefs that aren't changeable in light of conflicting evidence — or thoughts of suicide might be symptoms of a mental health condition.

Read more from the Mayo Clinic [HERE].

Monday, January 21, 2019

HOBAS: Understanding the Data Behind U.S. Crisis Hostage Negotiation

In 2013, I was a Research Fellow at Columbia University. Working with the FBI, I had access to the Hostage Barricade Database System (HOBAS) and put out what I believe to be is the most current up-to-date information on law enforcement negotiation statistics. 

Have a look at the graphic below and read the corresponding article [HERE].