Sunday, January 17, 2016

Verbal Communication & Text Messaging in Crisis Negotiation

While the use of mobile phones and text messaging has made it easier for hostage negotiators to communicate with other law enforcement personnel in crisis situations, little research has examined how text messaging could be used to communicate with the perpetrator. The purpose of this preliminary, qualitative study was to explore the similarities and differences in communication patterns of two hostage negotiations, one that took place verbally and one that occurred through text message. 

Both transcripts were analyzed using the Crisis Communication Rating Scale (CCRS), a behavioral coding system developed by McClain (2004). The study provided initial insight into several important similarities and differences between the modes of communication. First, the hostage negotiator relied heavily on the use of personal and situational disclosures to resolve the situation, regardless of the mode of communication. 

Additionally, both the hostage negotiator and barricaded suspect used reflective statements more frequently when they were able to communicate verbally. Lastly, when communicating through text message, the hostage negotiator used persuasive statements more frequently, while the barricaded suspect used expressive statements of anger more frequently. Possible implications for training and practice are discussed. 

Full paper [HERE].