skip navigation

PUBLICATIONS

Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.

 

NCJ Number: 50614 Find in a Library
Title: CONTROL OF HOSTAGE SCENES - WHAT TO DO WHILE WAITING FOR SWAT (SPECIAL WEAPONS AND TACTICS)
Journal: MARYLAND STATE FOP JOURNAL  Dated:(SUMMER 1978)  Pages:60-61,63-65
Author(s): M F AYOOB
Corporate Author: Organization Services Corporation
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 5
Sponsoring Agency: Organization Services Corporation
Boston, MA 02135
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: CHARACTERISTICS OF HOSTAGE TAKERS, MEASURES FOR THE CONTROL OF HOSTAGE SITUATIONS, AND STRATEGY FOR NEGOTIATING WITH THE HOSTAGE TAKER ARE DESCRIBED.
Abstract: IN GENERAL, HOSTAGE TAKERS ARE SMALL-TIME CRIMINALS. POLICE COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS AND ALARM NETWORKS HAVE MADE IT INCREASINGLY LIKELY THAT POLICE WILL BE ON THE SCENE OF AN ARMED ROBBERY BEFORE PERPETRATORS CAN ESCAPE. THE RESULT IS TWOFOLD: AN INCREASE IN ON-THE-SCENE APPREHENSIONS, AND AN INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF HOSTAGE SITUATIONS. TO REDUCE THE LIKELIHOOD OF HOSTAGE SITUATIONS, MANY POLICE DEPARTMENTS WORK ON A 'RED ALERT' CONCEPT IN WHICH POLICE UNITS ARE ORDERED TO CONVERGE ON THE SCENE OF A TRIGGERED ALARM WITH LIGHTS FLASHING AND SIRENS BLARING. A BETTER APPROACH IS TO MINIMIZE THE AMOUNT OF NOISE AND ACTIVITY AT THE SCENE AND RADIO THE SITUATION TO HEADQUARTERS, WITH THE ADVICE THAT ADDITIONAL UNITS COME IN WITHOUT LIGHTS AND SIRENS AND PREFERABLY OUT OF THE VISION OF HOSTAGE TAKERS. IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT A COMMAND OFFICER BE SENT IMMEDIATELY TO THE SCENE. THREE BASIC THINGS TO REMEMBER IN HOSTAGE SITUATIONS ARE: (1) CONTAINMENT RING, MEANING THAT OFFICERS CONVERGE ON THE SCENE AND BLOCK THE ESCAPE OF A TRAPPED FELON; (2) COMMUNICATIONS CONTROL; AND (3) PERIMETER, MEANING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A CIRCLE AROUND A HOSTAGE SITE FROM WHICH CITIZENS ARE EVACUATED. COMMUNICATIONS CONTROL CAN INCLUDE A CODE PREARRANGED WITH LIKELY CRIME TARGETS SUCH AS BANKS, SO THAT A CALL TO THE SWITCHBOARD OPERATOR CAN CONFIRM THAT A CRIME IS IN PROGRESS WITHOUT ENDANGERING THE LIVES OF PEOPLE INSIDE THE AREA. IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT OFFICERS AVOID TACTICS THAT MIGHT MAKE THE HOSTAGE TAKER MORE FRIGHTENED, SUCH AS USE OF THE PUBLIC ADDRESS SYSTEM IN THE PATROL CAR. PHONE CONTACT WITH THE HOSTAGE TAKER IS A USEFUL METHOD OF KEEPING HER OR HIM OCCUPIED AND AWAY FROM POSSIBLE EXPLOITATION OF THE NEWS MEDIA. NEGOTIATION SHOULD BE LEFT TO TRAINED EXPERTS. THE NEGOTIATOR SHOULD BE SOMEONE OF MIDRANK IN THE POLICE DEPARTMENT, A SERGEANT OR LIEUTENANT. NEGOTIATION STRATEGY IS DISCUSSED, INCLUDING KEEPING ONE'S VOICE CONTROLLED, USING PHRASES THAT IMPLY THAT THE HOSTAGES ARE 'WITH' THE CRIMINAL, RATHER THAN BEING HELD BY THE CRIMINAL, AND TRADING FOOD OR BEER (NEVER HARD LIQUOR) FOR HOSTAGES. FAMILIES OF THE HOSTAGE TAKER SHOULD BE KEPT AWAY FROM THE SITE, AND OFFICERS SHOULD NOT BE TRADED FOR HOSTAGES. PHOTOGRAPHS ARE INCLUDED. (DEP)
Index Term(s): Behavior patterns; Hostages; Police hostage-negotiation units; Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT)
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=50614

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.