Monday, March 27, 2017

6 Habits That Can Fight Depressive Symptoms

Image credit: Brandon Warren

Have a look at this from the crisis/hostage negotiator perspective- especially Point 6 brings to mind how certain strategies can be used later on during the negotiation (after utilizing active listening and acknowledging and de-escalting negative emotions). 

6. Ask Socratic questions
A technique called ‘Socratic questioning’ can help depressed people recover, a new study finds.
Socratic questioning is used by many therapists to help patients explore new perspectives on themselves and the world.
Socratic questioning differs from ‘normal’ questioning by focusing on fundamental issues and concerns.
For example, if a patient feels their life is a failure because of a divorce, the therapist might ask:
  • Is everyone who experienced divorce a failure?
  • Can you think of anyone for whom that is not true?
  • How does being divorced seem to translate into being a failure as a person for you?
  • What evidence is there that you have succeeded, and thus not been a “total failure?”
What do you think- how could you possibly include this into your negotiating strategy? 
Read the full article at the (great) PsyBlog [HERE]. 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Las Vegas Strip reopens after lengthy standoff with ‘delusional’ gunman on bus


Parts of the Las Vegas Strip were closed for more than four hours today as Metro Police negotiated with an apparently “delusional” man suspected of killing one person and wounding another in a late morning shooting on a double-decker bus.

The man barricaded himself inside the bus near the Cosmopolitan which forced police to shutdown the Strip from Flamingo Road to Harmon Avenue while negotiating his surrender.

Read more from the Las Vegas Sun [HERE]. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

The day terrorists took D.C. hostage

( On a spring day in 1977, members of a fringe Muslim group, armed with shotguns and swords, took 100 members of a Jewish organization in Washington hostage. The group then stormed a rival mosque, holding prayergoers at gunpoint. And two blocks from the White House, the militants shot their way into the District’s government building, killing a reporter and a security guard, and leaving Marion Barry, then a council member, bleeding from a gunshot wound to the chest.

...“You just keep talking. You keep waiting them out,” Maurice Cullinane, who was D.C. police chief at the time, said Thursday.

...Ambassadors from Egypt and Iran, whose citizens were among the 149 hostages, became involved in negotiations.

Read more [HERE]. 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Feelings Other Than PTSD For Kidnap Victims and Hostages

(Via HostageUS)- Neil Greenberg discusses different ways hostage survivors can cope if they do not suffer from PTSD.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Kidnapping Subject Uses Social Media To Taunt Police

(Via A Tennessee man wanted in connection with the Sunday kidnapping of his ex-girlfriend and one-year-old daughter was arrested in Peach County on Monday morning.
The arrested happened at Pilot gas station off of Interstate 75 at exit 146 about an hour after the suspect maintained his innocence and claimed authorities had twisted the story of what really happened at a Springfield, Tenn. Sonic restaurant one day earlier.
...The pair headed south after the Sunday incident while Ruland continued to taunt police with Facebook posts on local social media, the release said.
When reached for comment about the situation, Springfield Police Chief David Thompson called it very unusual.
"Both the original incident with him kidnapping the mother and child from Sonic, and him commenting on social media are not normal occurrences for Springfield," he said.
Read more from [HERE]. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Hostage US- Effective Responses to Kidnapping: Best Practices in Family Support and Hostage Reintegration


March 29

(Snippet from the Hostage US website): 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017, New York, NY
Hostage US will hold a daylong seminar in New York focusing on how organizations can effectively respond to kidnapping and the best practices in family support and hostage reintegration.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Somali Pirates Reportedly Seize Tanker In First Commercial Hijacking Since 2012

( An oil tanker with eight Sri Lankan crew members aboard appears to have been hijacked off the coast of Somalia, which would be the first time a large commercial ship has been taken by Somali pirates since 2012.
The Aris 13 sent a distress call Monday saying it was being tailed by two unfamiliar ships, "then it disappeared," John Steed of Oceans Beyond Piracy, an anti-piracy group, tells Reuters. The news service reports that the tanker, which had been transporting fuel from Djibouti to Mogadishu, Somalia's capital, turned off its tracking system and diverted toward the small town of Alula.
Read more [HERE]. 

TEDx: The Secrets of Hostage Negotiators

From TEDx Naperville:

Can you have a productive conversation with someone when you both disagree? 
Learn the secrets to negotiation and conversation from a police hostage negotiator. 

Sergeant Scott Tillema is a FBI trained hostage negotiator, spending over 7 years as a negotiator with NIPAS-EST, the largest multi-jurisdictional municipal SWAT team in the United States. He is also a supervisor at the Schaumburg (IL) Police Department, where he has been a police officer since 2002.

Scott held the role of adjunct professor at Argosy University – Schaumburg, teaching multiple courses in both the psychology and criminal justice programs. Through his interest in policing, psychology, and negotiations, he has developed The SECRETS Model of Negotiation, and actively teaches crisis communication to police officers throughout the Chicago region.

Scott holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin with a triple major in behavioral science, political science and sociology. He also completed a Master’s degree in forensic psychology through Argosy University.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

Monday, March 13, 2017

Mental health team to work closely with SFPD during crisis

( San Francisco police shut down several blocks of Valencia Street on Friday because Samantha Helstrom, 57, had barricaded herself inside her Mission District home.
The seven-hour negotiations were lead by the department’s Hostage Negotiation Team, but a Department of Public Health employee was on the scene, too, as is often the case in such instances.
...The newly expanded DPH team that will work with SFPD is part of that effort. 
“Their role will be for advice” Molina told the Police Commission March 8. “It’s a work in progress, but I think we’re getting there.”

The department’s team focuses on prevention by identifying the people most often in crisis, tracking their cases and dealing with the crisis. When a crisis occurs, the department will call on one of the DPH’s team members. That person will aid the hostage negotiators on the scene.

Read more [HERE]. 

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Despite Notoriety of Colorado Street Bridge, Pasadena’s Suicide Rates Have Declined

( The City’s Public Health Department announced that Pasadena’s annual suicide rates have declined in recent years, even as the Colorado Street Bridge seems to be drawing an increasing larger number of the distraught.

...The report indicates that Colorado Street Bridge, which earned its reputation as “Suicide Bridge” during the Great Depression, only accounted for 27 of the 177 total deaths since 2006.

...The Pasadena Police Department leads a Crisis Negotiation Team that has 14 members consisting of one Lieutenant, two Sergeants, three Corporals, two Dispatchers, one Park Safety Specialist, and five Officers to respond to individuals in need, according to Lt. Vasken Gourdikian.

The team is a voluntary assignment, says Gourdikian, with no time limit or constraints in terms of number of years, and it is considered an “absolute specialty” by the police department.

Read more [HERE]. 

Monday, March 6, 2017

Negotiating With Terrorists


Types of terrorist

 Contingent terrorists are typically hostage takers and kidnappers. Contingent terrorists seek negotiations in order to exchange their victims for publicity, ransom, and release of comrades, using others’ lives as a bargaining tool.

 Absolute terrorists are mainly involved in strategic/political terrorist situations and are beyond contact and communication. They commit a self-contained act that is not a step to a second action. Absolute terrorism expresses the frustration of the “suicider” with his weak power position and his inability to change it by any other means.His sense of injustice may come from revelation (fundamentalists), revolution (social revolutionaries) or revulsion against a discriminatory or corrupt world he feels owes him something. It is not just the suicidal tactics (means) but the unlimited cause (ends) that makes for truly absolute terrorism.

 But among absolutes there are differences... [read more]

Dealing with absolute terrorists

Key points for negotiators

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Crisis Negotiators of Oklahoma

Have a look at our page of law enforcement crisis hostage negotiation associations. It has been updated recently with 2017 conferences and a new organization has been added: Crisis Negotiators of Oklahoma (CNOK).

Check out the page here.

Check out the CNOK website here.