The Negotiator Magazine

Back to Index

prev   1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next

download printable version (MS Word .doc)


VII. Step Four - Commitment
            i. Hostage Negotiation
            While odds are there will never be a written contract or a handshake to memorialize the agreement – hostage negotiators nevertheless seek to obtain a resolution that is seemingly acceptable to everyone.  Detective Carter stated that, if at all possible, he will follow through with what he promised – even when the person is arrested.  This is because a hostage taker – even though apprehended – must still be able to trust the negotiator since the hostage taker may attempt to take hostages in the future and will need to work with negotiators again.  Therefore, even though a hostage taker will likely not be allowed to speak directly to his family members, if the promise is made that he will be allowed to speak with his family upon exiting the building – that promise will be carried through.
            Hostage negotiators are prepared to stay for the duration – as long as there is progress.   A team of negotiators exists in order that they are capable of staying long enough to diffuse a situation.  However, when nothing is working – the situation goes to impasse.  After the Team evaluates the situation, the Incident Commander (oftentimes the Captain) will as well.  The only solution might be to make an entry/assault. 
            However, the dangers of such actions must always be evaluated first.  The Rand Corporation conducted a study that found that out of 1000 hostages killed – 10% were killed during rescue attempts.   Therefore, the decision to attempt a rescue is one that is not taken lightly.
            Detective Carter described one situation in which absolutely nothing was working.  A paranoid schizophrenic had barricaded herself inside her house – without any hostages.  For twenty four hours they talked, to no avail.  After eliciting some information from her doctors – the negotiation team realized that she was afraid of being in confined places.  Therefore, when all else failed – they used foil to cover her windows and doors to make her feel closed in.  Immediately, she exited the house.
The difference between hostage negotiations and legal negotiations is that the BATNA for a hostage negotiator is to cease negotiations and respond with (1) massive firepower and assault, (2) selective sniper fire, or (3) chemical agents.

Bolz, supra at 173. 

Internal Association of Chiefs of Police and Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, Hostage Negotiation Study Guide, (2003) at study/hostage.pdf.

prev   1 2 3 4 6 7 8 9 10 next

Back to Index

May 2007