Saturday, August 30, 2014


HARVEY, Ill. (WLS) -- In an ABC7 exclusive, a key hostage negotiator gave Eyewitness News an inside look at how he and others helped bring that suburban standoff in Harvey to a peaceful end.

It was a worse-case scenario: six kids and two adults held at gunpoint by two men who had already shot two police officers. State police, the South Suburban Emergency Response Team and the Cook County Sheriff's Police all came together with one goal: get everyone out alive. It ended almost a day after it began.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Negotiator In Bunker Standoff Honored By FBI

Thursday, the director of the FBI, James B. Comey, presented Houston County Sheriff’s Capt. Bill Raffert with the FBI medal for Meritorious Achievement for his role in the negotiations, which eventually led to the safe rescue of 5-year-old Ethan Gillman, who was held hostage for nearly a week.

...According to the award ceremony program, Rafferty received the award at least in part after he established a rapport with the gunman, allowing the FBI to “devise” a rescue plan. Rafferty spent 12 hours a day talking to Dykes.

Read the full story from [HERE]. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

al Qaeda Begs U.S. To Negotiate

Al Qaeda issued another, more urgent public plea Wednesday to the family of American hostage Warren Weinstein to pressure Washington to negotiate for his release, but his wife told ABC News she feels "powerless" to help free him after three years.
The written, English-language message from the core al Qaeda group in Pakistan, where Weinstein, 73, has been suspected of being held against his will for three years as of this week, urged his family to "pressure your government." But there was no new video or photo of Weinstein, whose health is believed to have deteriorated in captivity.
..."They are begging for a negotiation. This is another unprompted attempt by al Qaeda to try to get something going on Weinstein," Voss, the FBI's former chief hostage negotiator, told ABC News on Thursday.
Voss also was a key counterterrorism agent in the investigation following the 1993 World Trade Center bombing of the Blind Sheikh, who U.S. officials have told ABC News will die in a U.S. federal prison serving his full life term and will never be freed. Al Qaeda isn't known for releasing hostages, and the U.S. does not as a policy negotiate with those responsible for 9/11.
Read the full story from ABC News [HERE]

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Crisis Negotiation Techniques in Terrorist Incidents: It’s Been 10 Years Since Beslan- What Have We Learned?

With the Society for Terrorism Research (STR) 8th Annual International Conference fast approaching, STR, partnered with the Center for Terrorism and Security Studies (CTSS), is launching a series of guest blog posts, written by those who will be presenting their research at STR14. In the sixth installment of this series Detective Jeff Thompson(@nonverbalPhD) discusses his work on the lessons learnt from the Beslan School Siege. Detective Jeff Thompson is the 2013/2014 recipient of the New York City Police Department Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly Scholarship and attended Columbia University as Research Scholar.  His research topic was crisis and hostage negotiation as well as terrorism related incidents [This article does not reflect the opinion of any group or organization that he is employed by or a member of]. 

Ten years ago terrorists in Beslan, a town in North Ossetia Russia, seized a school full of children, in what is still one of the deadliest terrorist incidents to have occurred.  The incident provides valuable insight with respect to crisis and hostage negotiations that can assist negotiators and government officials to be better prepared if they were to be involved in a similar situation where negotiating with terrorists could be the best option to ensure the least amount of casualties are suffered.

Despite the incident having displayed numerous moments that were clear examples of the terrorists escalating violence, the Beslan incident also offers valuable insight into missed opportunities where negotiators could have employed certain tactics that could have increased the chances for a more peaceful resolution.

A review of this incident, specifically conducted by Adam Dolnik (and co-author of our paper) demonstrates that established crisis and hostage negotiation skills can be effective yet the established methods of determining if a hostage incident can or should be negotiated as well as the methods of measuring progress needs to be reviewed.

Read the full article [HERE] and click the info graphic to see a larger version of it.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Science of Negotiation – Patterns to Predict Success or Failure

I highly recommend reading this from the brilliant people at Metric Lab.  Yes, it's a bit long and covers a variety of topics but it is well worth reading for both law enforcement and non-law enforcement personnel.  

Behavior Patterns of the Taker-Negotiator Relationship
In addition to the creation of the Crisis Communication Rating Scale, McClain’s research team applied this system to archived transcripts of hostage negotiations and obtained preliminary results. These findings have identified certain communication patterns that are associated with a peaceful resolution.
First, the research indicated that increased communication between hostage taker and negotiator led to a greater chance of peaceful resolution…
Second, it was found that as more personal information about the hostage taker was disclosed, the negotiator-taker relationship deepened, leading to feelings of trust and willingness to cooperate
Finally, it was found that the hostage taker tends to follow the lead of the hostage negotiator. 
Read the full article from Metric Lab [HERE]. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Leadership Expert & Hostage Negotiator George Kohlrieser Gives Tips

THE first time he was taken hostage was the worst.
George Kohlrieser was a young psychologist working alongside the domestic violence unit of Ohio’s police department. Only this time, they were not in a home but a hospital where a “very psychotic man” was holding a pair of scissors to a nurse’s neck. Despite their training and weapons, police were powerless to stop him.
“[He was] screaming and yelling and not really responding to anything. He soon cut [the nurse’s throat] with the scissors he was holding to her neck, he didn’t really make any demands he was just out of his mind,” Mr Kohlrieser said.
Read more from [HERE].