Hostage/Crisis Negotiations: Lessons Learned from the Bad, the Mad, and the Sad

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9780398088699: Hostage/Crisis Negotiations: Lessons Learned from the Bad, the Mad, and the Sad

The focus of this book is on dealing with hostage and crisis negotiations and how this can be successfully accomplished in order to save lives. Typically, those encountered by correctional and law enforcement crisis negotiators fall into one of three broad categories: The Bad, the Mad, and the Sad or, those with antisocial personality disorder; those who are severely mentally ill, insane or psychotic; or those who are contemplating suicide, respectively. This book outlines tactics and procedures for dealing with these three groups of individuals. Many excerpts will be found of siege dialogue and behind-the-scenes efforts of those in the command post and other locations whose efforts and energies play an integral role in this life-saving process. Some topics discussed include how using sleep deprivation should be avoided by hostage and crisis negotiators and how it can be used to advantage against the culprits; and how active listening skills (ALS) can be utilized and the mechanics of the process. These ALS guidelines show how being not only a good interviewer but also a good listener can be used to find a remedy to the situation. Team roles and responsibilities are also discussed in some detail. Using "hooks," or topics/persons that can be used to extract the subject from the crisis, and "hot buttons," or topics/persons that should be avoided from discussion, is also examined. Several "Lessons Learned" sections are also included after the dialogues, outlining what was learned and achieved in the process and which pitfalls should be avoided. Crisis negotiations has also been included in the book because a growing number of subjects with whom crisis negotiators deal are not holding hostages. While it is not the purpose of this text to review all tactics and techniques of the negotiations process, many examples are provided of what does work and, on occasion, what does not. It will prove to be a very useful tool to corrections and police negotiators and crisis interveners who seek peaceful ends to these very volatile and dangerous situations.

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As a negotiations practitioner for over 17 years, I fashion myself a student of the game , meaning I maintain an insatiable appetite of all things related to negotiations. I try to learn as much as I can from others experiences and research so as I can continue to improve. Therefore, it stands to reason that I waited with great anticipation for the arrival of Thomas Strentz s latest book, Hostage/Crisis Negotiations; Lessons Learned from the Bad, the Mad and the Sad, (Springfield, Illinois: Charles C. Thomas, 2013. 181 pages), hereafter referred to as the BMS. I had the pleasure of meeting Strentz early in my career as a negotiator. I found him to affable and be a wealth of knowledge. I honestly believe he has forgotten more about hostage/crisis negotiations than I know. For some perspective on his experience, the American model of hostage negotiations was born in 1973. Strentz has been in the business since...1973. He is former FBI negotiator who designed, directed and developed the Bureau s negotiations program from 1975-1987. Since then he has maintained is relevance by instructing, speaking, teaching, consulting and of course, writing on matters related to hostage/crisis negotiations.Strentz wrote BMS because he, like me, is a firm believer in case studies. We both are incredulous at the lack of knowledge many negotiators have regarding significant cases in the history of our discipline. Strentz recognizes that all of us, regardless of our level of experience or skill (the New, the Old and the Mediocre) learn from studying the success and failures of others. Whether the incident occurred last week or forty years ago, there are always lessons to be learned from case studies. BMS categorizes the types of individuals we encounter during a hostage-taking or barricade and exposes the reader to methods that will allow more effective management. There are several how-to negotiations manuals/books on the market but at 181 pages BMS is the most succinct and useful book of its kind. The value of BMS is found in its simplicity. Strentz has a long history in mental health but instead of attempting to make negotiators field clinicians he has broken down the personalities that we are likely to encounter into three categories; the Bad (criminal), The Mad (crazy) and the Sad (suicidal). This simplification is appropriate for the three types of negotiator personalities that are out there; the New (less than 5 years negotiations experience), the Old (more than five years experience) and the Ineffective (negotiators who think they know more than they do but in reality are no very little and their performance shows it). Each chapter concludes with Lessons Learned; a bullet-pointed list of things to take away from the experiences of the negotiators who handled the jobs. --Derek Gaunt/The Edge/March 2014 issue

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