The Negotiator Magazine

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The last incident was on November 4, 1979, when Iranian militants stormed the United States Embassy in Tehran, Iran and took captive over seventy American citizens. This began a hostage crisis that lasted for 444 days.

These tragedies, though probably not preventable even with a trained negotiator, showed there was a need for such specialized training. The response was the creation of police department classes in crisis and hostage negotiating.

In 1986, during classes in hostage and crisis negotiations at the North Central Texas Council of Governments Regional Police Academy in Arlington, Texas, officers began to talk about the need for an organization for negotiators. It was felt that the formation of such an association was especially important for negotiators because they often find themselves alone in their departments. They may be the only person assigned to the job and may experience feelings of isolation. Such isolation was reported from negotiators in large departments in which others really did not understand what they did and seemed especially true in smaller departments.

From this concern and interest, the idea was born to have an association of negotiators that could come together on a regular basis to train, to share ideas and review incidents and operate to the benefit of all concerned. An initial meeting was planned and hosted by negotiators at the Plano (Texas) Police Department to get things started. Some of the negotiators from the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport volunteered to do a special program on a dramatic hostage taking in which they had been involved.

On March 15, 1989, approximately sixty hostage and crisis negotiators gathered in Plano, Texas. They came from all over the North Central Texas area and determined that an association for negotiators was a good idea. All agreed again to meet once again.

On April 24, 1989, in Arlington, Texas, the Texas Association of Hostage Negotiators was launched. We met and elected our first slate of officers. Some of those founding leaders, such as Ken Clarida of the Arlington Police Department, our first Chairman, continue to serve the organization today.

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