“A negotiators job is to bring calm to the chaos” But….what about the negotiator? We work on building rapport and then…Suspect commits suicide SWAT kills suspect HOSTAGE IS KILLED!

  • As negotiators we are trained to deal with hostage taker/barricade suspects in two ways.
    • 1 Build rapport and influence change in the suspects behavior
    • 2 manipulate or distract the suspect so that SWAT can intervene with a tactical intervention.

Negotiators may have a more personal/intimate conversation with a suspect than they ever have had with many of their close friends or even…….family Comments from others that don’t help

The one “we lost”

See that stuff doesn’t work

“there goes your record”

He was alive when “we” talked to him

Even experienced teams and negotiators are inclined to blame themselves when subjects opt for death after negotiators have invested time and efforts to preserve life.

The second guessing starts

Did I say something I shouldn’t have?

Did I not say something I should have?

    Did I not pick up on something he said?

    What if? What if? What…if?

Negotiations 80-82% effective?

Arrest control tactics are not 100% effective

Impact weapons are not 100% effective

Tasers are not 100% effective

Deadly force is not 100% effective

Why do we do we expect verbal influence to be any different?

“Some” symptoms of emotional impact

Taking on responsibility for bad outcome

Depression including insomnia



Replaying the incident in their mind and making it worse

Views of Success

Tactical resolution does not equate to Negotiation failure. Negotiation success is judged by

  • Stabilizing the incident
  • Preventing further loss of life
  • Keeping Law enforcement Officers from making dangerous entries

Critical Incident debrief.

Timely Critical incident debriefs should be seriously considered after incidents involving death or serious injury.

Leave a Comment