Thursday, December 6, 2018

December Newsletter

Crisis Negotiation Newsletter
December 2018 | 

Hello all,

Here's the latest edition of the newsletter. First, happy holidays to everyone. Regardless of what you celebrate (or don't), I'm sending my best to everyone. 

The holidays can also though be a tough time for some - especially law enforcement personnel and others working in crisis incidents. Make sure you look after yourself. You matter. 

Take a moment to check out some resources [HERE]. For example, did you know that the great organization, Crisis Text Line, has set up a special keyword specific for law enforcement officers in a personal crisis? By texting BLUE to 741741 (U.S. only), you'll be connected to a crisis counselor that will only know you are a law enforcement officer somewhere in the U.S. needing a bit of help. It's 24/7, free, and confidential. 

Moving along, there's plenty of information (as usual!) in this month's newsletter. I'll update the calendar next month for 2019 trainings. I'm also working on some interesting research that can also serve as a way for your teams to stay sharp with their skills. I'll share more next month but as a preview, one study includes a terrorism element while another is regarding texting.  

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Q&A: Kidnapping and extortion: Just another day at the office

Michael A. Guidry is the founder of Guidry Group, a company established in 1985. The Guidry Group is a security services company. Tuesday, April 17, 2018, in Houston. ( Marie D. De Jesus / Houston Chronicle )

In an ideal world, no one would need the Guidry Group, an international kidnap and ransom, security services and crisis management company. In the actual world, the Guidry Group has resolved more than 70 kidnappings and 40 extortion cases. Its Crisis Management Team tackles an ever-growing number of global threats and emergencies such as terrorism, state-sponsored violence, cyberattacks and natural disasters.

Q: How did you get involved in kidnap and ransom?
A: My kidnap and ransom training began while I was a state trooper in Texas. I loved negotiating in hostage situations, so I put myself through training, not only in the U.S. but around the world. I continued training while at the international company — and still train today. This helps me stay current with the ways kidnappings and extortions can happen. Methods of payment, items requested for negotiations and more continue to change. My skills have to change with them.
Q: Do you have any special “tricks” to save kidnap victims?

A: Basically, we take over the situation and do the negotiations. I don’t know if I’d call our techniques “tricks.” We try to get into the perpetrators’ minds and determine what they really want. Experience is important, as is learning the “do’s” and “don’ts,” and doing more of the “do’s.” Keeping our clients — not happy, because they won’t be happy — but satisfied, is important.
Read more [HERE]. 

Saturday, December 1, 2018

After a suicide, here’s what happens to the people left behind


Loss survivors – the close family and friends left behind after a suicide – number six to 32 for each death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, meaning that in 2017 alone, as many as 1.5 million people unwillingly became part of this group.

They are forced to cope with the loss of a loved one and navigate uncertain futures, often caring for confused children as they struggle to accept they may never know "why."

"After his death, I cannot say that I was suicidal, but I can remember being in so much emotional pain that I would think, 'I really don’t want to wake up,'" Ruocco said. "Because you can’t figure out how to live your life with this kind of grief."

Read more [HERE]. 

Friday, November 30, 2018

Understanding Psychosis

is s set of symptoms that impacts a person's thoughts and behaviors. A common experience is losing touch with reality. It can affect people of all ages, races, ethnicities, genders and cultures.

Check out this short video to learn more:

Friday, November 23, 2018

C-K officers learning skills to de-escalate crisis situations

There were some hostage situations at a local hotel in Chatham on Thursday that Chatham-Kent police officers had to deal with, but there was no danger to the public.

There were some hostage situations at a local hotel in Chatham on Thursday that Chatham-Kent police officers had to deal with, but there was no danger to the public.
These scenarios involving actors is part of a five-day crisis negotiators course local officers are taking in Chatham, along with officers from Niagara Regional Police.
...Const. Fraser Curtis, an experienced negotiator, who is being re-certified, said crisis negotiation is a “perishable skill and obviously something that’s needed on the road from time-to-time when a call comes through where somebody’s in crisis.”
Tom Hart, president of Canadian Critical Incident Inc., with 20 years experience as a crisis negotiator with Durham Regional Police, is a course instructor.
“These type of people when they suffer these mental illnesses they’re in a state of crisis,” Hart said. “It’s really important for the officers to recognize those illnesses and develop a negotiating strategy to defuse, de-escalate and negotiate.”
Listening and de-escalating are key to successful negotiation, he said, followed by communicating clearly to the individual how resources will be used to resolve the situation.
Read more [HERE]. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

How to Control Your Emotions During a Difficult Conversation

It’s hard not to get worked up emotionally when you’re in a tense conversation. After all, a disagreement can feel like a threat. You’re afraid you’re going to have to give up something — your point of view, the way you’re used to doing something, the notion that you’re right, or maybe even power – and your body therefore ramps up for a fight by triggering the sympathetic nervous system. This is a natural response, but the problem is that our bodies and minds aren’t particularly good at discerning between the threats presented by not getting your way on the project plan and, say, being chased down by a bear. Your heart rate and breathing rate spike, your muscles tighten, the blood in your body moves away from your organs, and you’re likely to feel uncomfortable.

Focus on your body. Sitting still when you’re having a difficult conversation can make the emotions build up rather than dissipate. Experts say that standing up and walking around helps to activate the thinking part of your brain. If you and your counterpart are seated at a table, you may be hesitant to suddenly stand up. Fair enough. Instead, you might say, “I feel like I need to stretch some. Mind if I walk around a bit?” 

If that still doesn’t feel comfortable, you can do small physical things like crossing two fingers or placing your feet firmly on the ground and noticing what the floor feels like on the bottom of your shoes. Mindfulness experts call this “anchoring.” It can work in all kinds of stressful situations. For example, for a long time I was afraid of flying, but I found that counting while touching each of my fingers with my thumb helped to get me out of my rumination mode.

Read more and get all of the tips [HERE]. 

Saturday, November 17, 2018

'Very tense and very stressful': Crisis negotiators play pivotal role in recent standoffs with police

Winnipeg Police Service’s crisis negotiation team involved in several high-profile calls in last 3 weeks

The Winnipeg Police Service's crisis negotiation unit has dealt with several high-profile incidents over the past few weeks, including four armed and barricaded situations — two of those involving firearms.
"No two calls are going to be the same. Obviously, the deployment sort of ramps up your level of anxiety," said unit commander Staff Sgt. Sean Pollock.
"Really, you're just trying to establish communication. You're allowing that individual to express and vent," said Pollock.
Read more [HERE]. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

FBI Hostage Negotiation Tactics You Can Use Every Day

We have all read and trained on some of these techniques, but how many of us actual practice them and use them? Have a look...

Try the mirroring technique.

When in a negotiation it's crucial to get as much information out of the other side as possible. Voss explains that by "mirroring" them and simply repeating three to five keywords in their last sentence, people are forced by nature to repeat themselves in a way that gives more information and clarifies their points. An example:
Person 1: To get someone to tip their hand and clarify, simply repeat the last three to five keywords in their sentence.
Person 2: You repeat the last keywords?

Person 1: Yeah, pretty crazy right? What that does is it causes me to explain my point again from a different angle, revealing more information that could be extremely valuable and also it helps you decipher my true desired outcomes and motivations.
Voss notes it feels extremely awkward when you are doing the mirroring, but insists that the other person almost never notices and actually feels listened to. Voss refers to this as the negotiation "Jedi Mind trick" as he says it works every time and no one knows you're doing it.
Read more [HERE].

Monday, November 12, 2018

Manukau mall siege: Woman held hostage speaks of her horror

Laura Wheeler was in an Auckland Mall food court when a man came up from behind her and put a knife to her throat.

She said the man kept telling her quietly he didn't want to hurt her.

She said the man kept asking for his sister.

Wheeler said there were plenty of police officers facing off with the man, many who had drawn weapons.

However, only one spoke, a negotiator who Wheeler said did an "outstanding" job.

She said the negotiator told the man he could see his sister when he went back to the police station with them.

Read the full story and watch video footage at the NZ Herald [HERE].

Thursday, October 18, 2018

7 Traits of the Modern Sociopath and Psychopath

You hope to never negotiate or engage a subject with anti-social personality disorder but if you do, you better know about their common traits and symptoms. Have a look at the snippet below with the link to the full article at the bottom:
Antisocial personality disorder, sometimes identified interchangeably as sociopathy or psychopathy, is defined by the Mayo Clinic as: “A mental condition in which a person consistently shows no regard for right and wrong and ignores the rights and feelings of others. People with antisocial personality disorder tend to antagonize, manipulate or treat others harshly or with callous indifference. They show no guilt or remorse for their behavior.”
3. Lack of Empathy & Cold-Heartedness  
“Sociopathy is, at its very essence, ice-cold.”
— Martha Stout
Research by neuroscientist Adrian Raine reveals that people with antisocial personality disorder have fewer cells in their prefrontal cortex ― considered the most evolved region of the brain. The prefrontal cortex is responsible for, among many functions, the capacity to understand other people’s feelings (empathy), the capacity to make sound, principled judgement (ethics), and the capacity to learn from life experience (reflection).
As sociopaths/psychopaths lack empathy, ethics, and reflection, they also tend to be unfeeling and cold-hearted toward the pain and suffering they cause others. This lack of humanity has several dangerous implications:
A.  It compels the sociopath/psychopath to commit trespasses with little or no moral conflict.
B.  Knowing the suffering of their victims does not bring about ethical pause. Just the opposite ― it may encourage the sociopath/psychopath to do more harm (for they feel like they’re “winning”).
Read the full article [HERE]. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

'And breathe': police try mindfulness to beat burnout

Police officers will be taught mindfulness techniques such as slower breathing during the eight-week course.

This article can serve as a great reminder to those who constantly work in crisis situations that having a wellness/self-care plan in place is not just important, I would go as far as saying it is required. It can help you be more effective during crisis incidents as well as make you be calmer and overall more relaxed. [Here's some examples of mindfulness practices]

The College of Policing is to fund a trial of a secular version of mindfulness training for more than 1,500 officers in part to combat soaring stress and anxiety in the service, which has forced record numbers to take time off sick in the past year. Its backers hope to improve officers’ management of high-adrenaline confrontations, make them more alert when gathering evidence, improve listening skills when dealing with witnesses and victims and even help firearms officers make better decisions.

...There are early signs of possible effectiveness in policing. An initial trial in Bedfordshire suggested work-related-burnout was, on average, lower for 72 people who used the techniques and an internal report concluded: “Participants reported sleeping better, being able to reduce pain medication and feeling calmer and less reactive.”

...Stress is a serious problem for the police. Nearly 10,000 officers, equivalent to one in 12, took time off sick with stress or anxiety over the past year, according to figures released this summer.

Read the full article [HERE].

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

WSNA Annual Conference

The Western States Hostage Negotiators' Association

is excited to announce their 33rd Annual Training Seminar & HNT Competition.

April 7th, 2019 Negotiation Team Competition
Evening of April 7th, 2019 Registration & Networking
April 8th-10th, 2019 Training Seminar
Evenings of April 8th & 9th Networking/Team Building Events

The Historic Davenport Hotel, Spokane, Washington
WSHNA Room Rate is $119.00/night for both the
Historic Davenport Hotel and the Davenport Tower

Information at, to include; registration, book your hotel rooms, presenter's bio's, presentation synopsis, event schedule, & Alaska Air discount. WSHNA is also on Facebook under our full name. Our web site will have all the latest information.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Two Signs Of A Panic Attack Coming On

Two Signs Of A Panic Attack Coming On post image

Empathy is critical to being an effective negotiator and helping someone through a crisis. Learn more about what a person is experiencing, especially the physical symptoms, when they are in the midst of a panic attack via the Psy Blog:

With panic attacks, people often report that they happen spontaneously, without being cued by anything specific.
But this research suggests they are a result of being very vigilant to relatively small fluctuations in heart rate and breathing that build up over up to an hour.
...The classic psychological signs of a panic attack are:
  • feeling of unreality,
  • fear of losing control,
  • and fear of dying.
The physical signs are:
  • shortness of breath,
  • heart racing,
  • dizziness,
  • chest pain,
  • sweating,
  • hot flashes,
  • trembling,
  • choking,
  • nausea,
  • and numbness
Read more [HERE]. 

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Crisis Counselor Skills: Helping People In Crisis… in 160 Characters or Less

I've heard in the past that it is not possible to build rapport with a subject through text and the goal is to try and convince the person to pick up the phone. 

That is simply not true. You can build rapport via text messaging.

Is it harder to build rapport via texting with a person in crisis compared to face to face or via the phone? Sure, at least initially without any practice or training. 

What am I basing this on? Crisis Text Line has exchanged more than 75 million messages in the past five years with people in crisis all via text messaging. With that massive amount of messages, it provides a massive amount of data. Fortunately it also provides some tips for us on how best to communicate with someone in crisis via texting. 

One thing to keep in mind is if communicating via text is what the subject feel most comfortable with, do we want to repeatedly try to convince them to use another mode of communication? 

To put it into perspective, if we are taught not to continually ask the person to come out and talk face to face (really surrender) when talking with a subject on the phone, why would we continually ask the subject to answer the phone continually via text messaging? Instead, the same process of slowing it down is used by crisis counselors similarly to what crisis negotiators use. 

From the article:

The four key skills used by CC’s (crisis counselors) are validating, strength ID’s, empathetic responses, and paraphrasing. Keep in mind each message is a maximum of 160 characters so each message a CC sends has to be well thought and concise. A Crisis Counselor also has to be cool under pressure as in some instances the person can be suicidal. The job of a Crisis Counselor is clearly not for everyone.
Validating: This lets the texter know that it is ok to be feeling what they are feeling. This could include a variety of emotions such as stress, anger, devastation, or feeling overwhelmed or abandoned. The CC tells them it is normal to feel that way based on what they are experiencing. The only way to get that information from them is by using questions that are not judging or accusatory but rather frequently open-ended. This invites them to share what is going on.
“It’s understandable you’re feeling stressed with all these deadlines looming.”

Read more about each of the above skills and how it can apply to your work [HERE]

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Hostage in Trader Joe’s Standoff Describes Helping Suspect Negotiate His Surrender

I highly recommend reading the full article, watching the above video and listening to the podcast below. Some might think by reading the headline that this is the case of Stockholm Syndrome. It is clearly not. (Read more on Stockholm Syndrome here).

It is something that I would describe more as a term I coined "Sydney Syndrome"- where the hostage works towards building rapport with the hostage-taker in order to increase their own survival chances. The hostage is not aligning with the hostage-taker from an affiliative perspective but rather one that realizes their fates are interconnected and it is therefore strategic to act in such a manner.

"Sydney Syndrome" is not a formal diagnosis (nor is Stockholm Syndrome), it is merely a term designed to help us further understand the actions of the hostage(s) during an incident. This is important as their actions (or inactions) can greatly impact the negotiation process. (if you are interested in reading paper, send me an email).

Here's a snippet from a hostage's account from an incident many of us are familiar with:

Standing near the registers at Trader Joe’s, MaryLinda Moss threw herself to the ground when she heard the sound of gunshots.

She called her 14-year-old daughter, who was waiting inside their car in the parking lot. “I said ‘There’s a shooter, hide in the bottom of the car,’ and then I hung up.”

It would be another three hours before Moss left the store.

The 55-year-old artist and art consultant would come to play a crucial role in helping Gene Atkins, 28, negotiate with police as dozens were held hostage inside the Silver Lake grocery store on July 21.

In an interview with KTLA’s Frank Buckley, Moss described those first few moments of chaos and a gradual, measured set of negotiations that took place over multiple phone calls with police in the hours after. 

Here's a description of the exchange between Mary Linda Moss and the hostage-taker:

She said, ‘There’s a woman who’s been shot, and he said, ‘That’s not my fault, that was the police,'” she said. “And I was like, ‘OK, but she’s gonna need help.'”

He told her, “‘You’re pushing’ or ‘you’re going too fast,'” she recalled.

He would repeat those phrases several times, later, as she helped him negotiate with police.

And here's one more:

“He’s saying, you know, ‘It’s all over. I shot at a cop. I’m in for life,'” she said. “And, I said, ‘There’s always hope.'”
Read more [HERE]. 

Listen to the podcast interview below: 

Friday, October 12, 2018

AFSP Voices of Hope: Before A Suicide Attempt

Have a look at this video published by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. It is first-hand, real-life accounts from people who attempted suicide. It is very moving and specifically for negotiators, it can provide insight and empathy to help you genuinely engage a subject that is suicidal.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Understanding Acute Stress Disorder

Image result for acute stress disorder

I'd say many of us are familiar with PTSD and its corresponding symptoms. However, are you also familiar with Acute Stress Disorder? As negotiators and practitioners from other related fields (like crisis counselors), we are not involved in the crisis to diagnose someone.

Why? It's not our job. 

Plus, for example we, as the communication specialists on the scene, are not going to try and determine if the certain symptoms are present in the subject for a specific time frame such as more than a month (required by the way for PTSD to be diagnosed) as that can come across as awkward and ruin the rapport-building approach.

What is important is to know the signs and symptoms in order to develop an effective communication strategy.

Therefore, I suggest get to know a little bit more about what Acute Stress Disorder is (from Health Line):

In the weeks after a traumatic event, you may develop an anxiety disorder called acute stress disorder (ASD). ASD typically occurs within one month of a traumatic event. It lasts at least three days and can persist for up to one month. People with ASD have symptoms similar to those seen in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The symptoms include dissociative, avoidance, and re-experiencing the traumatic event. It also involves distress and also anxiety or increased arousal. Examples include:
  • having trouble sleeping
  • being irritable
  • having difficulty concentrating
  • being unable to stop moving or sit still
  • being constantly tense or on guard
  • becoming startled too easily or at inappropriate times
Read more on this including more symptoms [HERE].  

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Negotiating with the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda

The first condition to negotiate with any party is to accept them. Is the Islamic State ready to acknowledge Western governments especially America? 

The Islamic State explicitly calls outsiders as apostate and infidels in its publications. It is the enemy of homosexuals and the Jews, and enslaves non-Muslim women. This group doesn’t approve of the United Nations or any other international organization, and wants to establish a universal Islamic government. Will the credibility of Western countries and the United States regarding human rights be questioned should they negotiate with Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State, and other Islamist internationalist groups?

...Negotiating with any group does not lead to being influenced by that group’s ideology. However, it gives credibility to that group. Why negotiate with Al-Qaeda and ISIS, given the fact that they have killed innocent civilians and enslaved countless women and girls?

Read more from International Policy Digest [HERE]. 

Monday, October 8, 2018


Enjoy the snippets below of this great article and click the link at the bottom to read the full version.

YAMAM is the world’s most elite—and busiest—force of its kind, and its expertise is in high demand in an era when ISIS veterans strike outside their remaining Middle East strongholds and self-radicalized lone wolves emerge to attack Western targets.

YAMAM has devised new methodologies for responding to terrorist incidents and mass shootings, which it is sharing with its counterparts across the globe.

Off and on for a year, I followed N and his team as they traveled, trained, and exchanged tactics with their American, French, and German counterparts on everything from retaking passenger trains to thwarting complex attacks from cadres of suicide bombers and gunmen firing rocket-propelled grenades.

The conventional wisdom for how to deal with fast-moving terrorist incidents has evolved over time, most notably in hostage situations. Since the 1960s and 70s, first responders have sought to establish a physical boundary to “contain” an event, engage the perpetrators in dialogue, draw out negotiations while formulating a rescue plan, then move in with a full team. Similar principles were adapted for reacting to kidnappers, emotionally disturbed individuals, and mass-casualty incidents.

YAMAM goes in heavy, dispatching self-contained squadrons of breachers, snipers, rappellers, bomb techs, dog handlers, and hostage negotiators. Metaphorically speaking, they don’t send an ambulance to stabilize a patient for transport. They send a hospital to ensure survival on scene.

Major O, the 37-year-old who commands YAMAM’s sniper team, explained that one of the unit’s signature skills is getting into the assailant’s mind-set. “We try to learn every terrorist attack everywhere in the world to find out how we can do it better,” he noted. “Our enemies are very professional, too, and in the end they are learning. They try to be better than us.”

Read the full article [HERE]. 

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Time for Peace Talks With ISIS and Al Qaeda?

(JM Lopez/AFP/Getty Images/iStockphoto/Foreign Policy illustration)

With options limited for fighting terrorists, negotiations may be the best remaining alternative.

The United States is prepared to back talks with the Afghan Taliban. It is worth considering whether the same spirit of accommodation—or, more accurately, resignation—could be extended to other groups associated with al Qaeda or even the Islamic State.

Read more from Foreign Policy [here]. 

Thursday, October 4, 2018

'Fire was being shot all over': 6 officers hurt, 1 dead in South Carolina shooting

Seven law enforcement officers were shot, one fatally, on Wednesday night during a two-hour standoff in an upscale residential neighborhood in Florence County, South Carolina.

The male suspect, who held children hostage as he fired upon officers from multiple agencies, has yet to be named. The children were unharmed, police said.

...Soon, Florence Police Department officers responded to assist deputies as the suspect remained barricaded inside the home. Three county deputies and four city officers were shot before the suspect surrendered after talking with a negotiator, according to local media reports.

Read the full article [HERE].

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Mission Critical: NJDOC Critical Incident Negotiation Team Continuously Hones Its Skills

Nj doc ci team scaled

It was July 4 weekend when members of the New Jersey Department of Corrections’ Critical Incident Negotiation Team (CINT) received word that an armed officer had barricaded himself in a three-story tower located on the grounds of a prison. 

It was their job to find a way to peacefully end the crisis, which unfolded several years ago. 

“They were able to bring the individual’s emotions to the point where he was able to be rational,” said Lowery, who works at Albert C. Wagner Youth Correctional Facility. 
 Read more from [HERE]. 

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Armed standoff at LA Trader Joe's ends with one store employee dead, wounded suspect in custody

A Trader Joe's employee is dead and a wounded suspect is in custody after a standoff in Los Angeles stretched through several tense hours Saturday before the suspect surrendered.

About 40 people were inside the grocery store on Hyperion Avenue, in LA's Silver Lake neighborhood, when an armed man ran in, according to police. He had crashed the car he was driving nearby after firing multiple rounds at officers pursuing him, police said.

The man was running from police after a shooting in which an elderly woman and a young woman were victims, LAPD Officer Mike Lopez told CNN. Their conditions were not given.

Police said the older woman was the suspect's grandmother, and it was the grandmother's car he was driving when he wrecked near the Trader Joe's.

Read more and watch the video from CNN [HERE].

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Calgary Police/RCMP Negotiation Seminar

24th Annual Calgary Negotiation Seminar
Calgary Police Service / Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Calgary, Alberta Canada
September 26 to September 28, 2018

This jointly sponsored seminar by the Calgary Police Service and the Southern Alberta District of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, seeks to expand the knowledge and expertise of negotiators, incident commanders and tactical officers.
Open to police officers, corrections officers and selected mental health professionals who actively work with negotiators, these sessions aim to share new ideas, methods and experiences in an open forum.
Take a look at the agenda for this great event [HERE].

Friday, July 13, 2018

The Science of Stress and How Our Emotions Affect Our Susceptibility to Burnout and Disease

(BrainPickings)- In the immeasurably revelatory The Balance Within: The Science Connecting Health and Emotions (public library), Sternberg examines the interplay of our emotions and our physical health, mediated by that seemingly nebulous yet, it turns out, remarkably concrete experience called stress.

...Memory, it turns out, is one of the major factors mediating the dialogue between sensation and emotional experience. Our memories of past experience become encoded into triggers that act as switchers on the rail of psychoemotional response, directing the incoming train of present experience in the direction of one emotional destination or another.
Mood is not homogeneous like cream soup. It is more like Swiss cheese, filled with holes. The triggers are highly specific, tripped by sudden trails of memory: a faint fragrance, a few bars of a tune, a vague silhouette that tapped into a sad memory buried deep, but not completely erased. 
Read more [HERE].  

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Gaining Empathy and Insight With Anxiety

( When anxiety takes hold of us, it distorts our experience of the world and causes turbulence in our minds, wreaking havoc on our thoughts and emotions. For someone with severe panic disorder, this can shake them to their very core.

Read more [HERE]. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

How The Marines Pulled Off An Incredible Hostage Rescue

( ...The Khmer Rouge soldiers kept the merchant sailors on board but took the nonessential crew off the ship. The Khmer Rouge commander, Sa Mean, ordered the ship to the Cambodian port of Kompong Som. As the ship steamed through the Gulf of Thailand, American military aircraft—alerted by the SOS—harassed the Mayaguez by buzzing the ship, strafing the sea in front of its bow, and dropping tear gas on the deck. The harassment forced the Mayaguez to anchor off the coast of Koh Tang, a gulf island northeast of Poulo Wai.

...“A helicopter was shot down on East Beach.”

Tuitele’s mind raced. All he wanted to do was get down there and help his men. He started to go over his battle drills. It was going to be a hot landing zone.
Read more [HERE]. 

(Note: the full version is behind a paywall)

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Woman Climbs Statue of Liberty, Elite NYPD Officers Negotiate and Help Her Get Down

New York (CNN)- A woman who climbed up to the robes of the Statue of Liberty to protest the separation of migrant families was taken into custody after a standoff with police on the Fourth of July.

Authorities had tried to talk the woman down but she refused to leave. For nearly three hours, she crossed the base of the statue...

"At first, she wasn't friendly with us, but we took the time to get a rapport with her so that took a while," said Glacken.

"She just kind of mentioned the kids in Texas. I guess the whole debate that's going on about that. In the beginning, she threatened to push us off, push the ladder off, but we stayed with her," Glacken added.

Read more and watch the video from CNN [HERE].

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Irish Police Negotiators involved in 86 tense negotiation stand-offs last year

EXPERT cops were involved in 86 tense stand-offs with people threatening to take hostages and others vowing to take their own lives in 2017.
A special Irish Sun on Sunday investigation on the work of the Garda National Negotiation Unit shows how officers are dealing with almost two ‘crisis incidents’ per week.
...The majority of calls they receive relate to people attempting to take their own lives. But they have also been involved in incidents after criminals have gone on the rampage or barricaded themselves into properties.
Read more [HERE]. 

Friday, June 8, 2018

Trauma Of Violence Brings Mental Illness

The following can help those working in crisis situations generate empathy for those people they are trying to help that are in a crisis, experiencing trauma and suffering from a mental illness:
I’ve treated individuals who experienced gun violence. They have brutal nightmares and can experience debilitating shock when someone is behind them in the grocery store. Their lives are wrecked by fear. Neurobiological processes imprint memories of the event, and can be triggered at any given moment. I’ve also treated mothers who have lost children. They’ve been hospitalized for thoughts of suicide and severe symptoms of distress and depression. Their lives hold pain and darkness, even 30 or more years later. They often lose motivation to work, and struggle especially in the days surrounding the anniversary of the tragedy.
The problem is that mental illness affects individuals and families. It affects entire communities...
Read more from Luming Li/the Hartford Courant [HERE]. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Risk of being a crime victim goes up with mental illness diagnosis

(Reuters Health) - Having a mental illness makes people more vulnerable to becoming the victims of a crime, a recent analysis suggests.

Based on nationwide data from more than 2 million people in Denmark, researchers found that in the 10 years following a diagnosis with any psychiatric disorder, a man’s risk of being the victim of a crime that was reported to police rose by 50 percent. For women, the risk went up by 64 percent compared to women without mental illnesses.

The greatest increased danger was from violent crime: men’s risk of being a victim rose by 76 percent while women’s went up nearly three-fold, the study team reports in JAMA Psychiatry.
“This study confirms what we’ve known for a long time, which is that people with mental illness are more likely to be victims, not perpetrators of crime. Perpetrators choose victims who seem powerless and helpless,” said Dr. Renee Binder, a professor of psychiatry and director of the Psychiatry and the Law program at the University of California, San Francisco Medical School.

Read the full article [HERE]. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Mental Disorder in Terrorism, Mass Murder and Violence: Moving Away From Pathologising Grievance

The following is an excerpt from the latest CREST Security Review (Issue 8). You'll see how from the snippet below, the material is directly applicable to those working in crisis situations be it as as law enforcement negotiator, crisis intervention specialist, crisis counselor or another type of role. 

The assumption of mental disorder causing violent behaviour has instinctive appeal: It offers a clear-cut and simple explanation of why people choose violence. By attributing Paddock’s record act of violence to mental disorder (as understood by the general public), as opposed to a political aim, it fits with the popular image of a crazed killer.  
The case of Paddock is not isolated. Media coverage of many recent mass killings has shown the desire to attribute motivation to mental illness. The cases of Dylann Roof, Esteban SantiagoRuiz, Michel Zehaf-Bibeau, Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, and Omar Mateen have all attracted wide media coverage, mainly because of the discussion surrounding how their actions should be labelled due to their suspected mental disorder. 
...Just because a factor (such as mental disorder) is present in a case of mass violence, does not make it causal. Nor is it always facilitative. It may be completely irrelevant. We must be comfortable with this complexity; understand that where mental health problems are present, they are usually one of several aspects in a risk profile; and by doing so, not stigmatising the vast majority of people that suffer from mental health problems while remaining non-violent, non-radicalised, and in need of care.

Read more from Emily Corner [HERE].