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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 78332 Find in a Library
Title: Practical Overview of Hostage Negotiations (Conclusion)
Journal: FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin  Volume:50  Issue:7  Dated:(July 1981)  Pages:10-15
Author(s): G W Fuselier
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 6
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses the process of negotiation, focusing on exchange of hostages, media coverage, guidelines for negotiation, mode of contact with the hostage taker (HT), selecting a negotiator, and using a clinical psychologist as a consultant.
Abstract: Priorities in a hostage incident include preservation of life, apprehension of the HT, and recovering or protecting property. Food and drink for the HT are negotiable, but the exchange of hostages is a poor tactic since it increases the level of tension when a police officer is exchanged for a hostage. Often granting the HT appropriate radio or television air time can diffuse the situation, resulting in a release of hostages. The passage of time increases the likelihood that hostages will be released unharmed because of basic human needs for food, water, sleep, and elimination increase; anxiety tends to be reduced; most persons begin to think more rationally and less emotionally; hostages have more opportunity to escape; increased rapport and trust can develop between the negotiator and HT; and the HT's expectations and demands may be reduced. The right time should be chosen to make contact with the HT. The negotiator should be a volunteer, experienced law enforcement officer in excellent mental and physical health who must be able to think clearly under stress. Desirable traits for the negotiator include emotional maturity, good listening and interviewing skills, and good communication ability with persons from the lowest to the highest socioeconomic class. Since many people are involved in a hostage incident, communication among the onscene commander (OSC), the negotiations team, and the SWAT (special weapons and tactical unit) team leader is crucial. Each negotiation team should have four members: a primary negotiator, a secondary negotiator, a psychological consultant, and a negotiation team leader. The responsibilities of each member are delineated. Finally, a clinical psychologist can help the negotiation process by determining if the HT is mentally disturbed and what approach to the negotiation should be used. One chart is provided.
Index Term(s): Hostage negotiations; Hostage takers; Media coverage
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