Hostage Negotiation Term Paper

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Hostage Negotiation

Keeping people as hostages has happened all through history. In the recent years, political events in Algeria, Kenya and Vietnam show examples of such terrible acts. Criminals, mentally challenged, prisoners are usually the people involved in hostage taking. Hostage crises have prevailed due to escalations of family member-on-member, family member-on-employee, intoxicated colleague, household dispute situations, disturbed client-on-employee and disturbed employee-on-client violence at workplace. Those involved in hostage taking activities involved in either properly assessed or quick responses to a situation. Professional criminals might involve a hostage being taken accidentally or due to a fight or flight panic response when the criminal activity is understood and interrupted, involving the criminals without a pre-decided plan of activity. The hostages are then held as a method of barter for escape. Inadequate personalities are people who are emotionally challenged people who might keep a hostage to obtain and maintain continued attention to them or their escape. Loose groups involve incarcerated criminals who have accomplished takeovers and have held hostages. Structured groups such as hostage takers utilize the propaganda machinery for political or social transformations by means of the media. Hostage takers might involve facilities for media coverage or as a means to retaliate for real or imagined activities being carried out by governments. (Hostage Negotiation Study Guide)

There are usually four methods of choice for police commanders while dealing with a hostage crisis. The first conservative confrontational method is to gather officers and wide ranging firepower and assault. The second method is to utilize selective sniper fire. The third deals with utilizing chemical agents. The fourth method involves controlling the area and negotiating with a particularly trained negotiator. The first three methods would always lead to injury. Negotiation strategies involve: Demand Theories which necessitate action and a performance oriented expectation having a time limit. Another technique involves with personnel safety. The Cox-Mackay Transactional Model of Stress involve elements as environment, capabilities, involving with stress demands, and measuring the effectiveness and the Yerkes-Dodson Law deals with measuring performance. Time effects are a technique that improves basic human necessities and involve the opportunity of the negotiator to satisfy these necessities in exchange for something else. The critically evaluated Positive and Negative Transference might happen as a result of shared experiences, dependency, closeness and tension of the situation. This could evolve into a classic Stockholm syndrome which is involvement of hostage taker and hostages. (Hostage Negotiation Study Guide)

An efficient modem of communication should be formed as soon as possible after the hostage takers make their presence understood. Practically, the initial contact would be noted by a copious absence of tactical troops or armed containment groups. Witnessing tactical reply, teams employ assault troops, snipers, police, and also armored vehicles and this would improve the levels of stress and also improve the adrenaline output of people who have already decided to do something that would involve causalities. The second motivating element for the negotiator to deal with is evolving a negotiation strategy which is the element of ambivalence that the hostage takers might have towards life and death. The third and final motivating element for the negotiator to evaluate is the result that a particular activity would have on others. One method in understanding this evaluation is to assess the incident from three specific angles: How the hostage taker or group might consider their activities by way of its usage and meaning for themselves and their institutions; How the hostages or potential victims may understand their hostage takers, and their answer for the hostage taker activity; How the mass media might understand and assess the incident, hostage taking activity, and hostage situation to the public. (Negotiation Strategy in Hostage Scenarios)

Equipped with the fragmented information no negotiator ever desires to address a crisis. The time spent unnecessarily in searching out a specific piece of information leads to grave results for the entire mission. However the effective solution to any problematic situation calls upon the capability of both the negotiators and the tactical team members to quickly find out and spread information. Easy to generate and maintain, situation boards permit the mission critical team members to find out the crucial information at a very rapid speed. They generate all the differences when lives are at risk and every moment is taken into consideration. (Duffy, 1997) The negotiation is required to be very meticulous and at the time of making negotiations the women is being taken to be the hostages in more cases than that of males. The negotiating team is required to first evaluate as to how many women are hostages. When a large number of women are involved then the negotiation would reflect the appeals of family members, religious leaders, and others to gauge the depth of terrorists' sincerity than in the case when attempting to negotiate for male hostages. Hostage organizers are required to apply such appeals as face saving methods to entail discounts. (Negotiating for life: Negotiating with hostage takers)

The art of hostage negotiation was initiated in 1972 with the New York Police Department -- NYPD which evolved as a result of a bank robbery and hostage taking situation that inspired the movie, Dog Day Afternoon. The NYPD was to find an improved manner to bring these incidents to a halt. Together Harvey Schlossberg and Frank Boltz defined and evolved an entirely renewed approach, and gave shape to the basis of what we understand now as the Crisis Negotiation Team -- CNT. Another major player in the field, and now understandably the dominant institution on the subject, was the FBI. The Bureau's tactical resolution technique has the CNT being considered as the ears and mouth of the police; SWAT being considered as the eyes and muscle of the police, and the on-scene commander being considered as the brains of the police.

No single part can exist without the other. And no single part needs to take over the activity of the other. And that leads to Rule Number Two: commanders need not negotiate and negotiators need not command. The Bureau's hierarchical level is that of the CNT commander and the SWAT commander, each reporting on equal levels to the on-scene commander. With such a structure, CNT and SWAT are having equal status. Tactical operations have 78% chances of injury or death to someone, while containment and negotiation involve 95% success rate. Several things have transformed since the birth of CNT. "Hostages are never swapped. This simply increases emotion and tension. Face-to-face negotiations are now the exception, while they used to be the rule. While it is not yet a thing of the past, the "action imperative" response is less prominent. There should be no us vs. them between CNT and SWAT." (FBI's Crisis Negotiation Course)

However, intragency conflict between law implementation on tactical teams like special weapons and tactics- SWAT and crisis negotiations teams -- CNT, results seemingly as a result of competing standards on the best ways to address such hostage settings. (Vecchi, 2002) In hostage circumstances, 'law enforcement' must eliminate all rational non-violent options. However, an imbalance between tactical and negotiation teams exists that sometimes hurries the process to rush towards a solution. (Crisis Negotiation)

The negotiation made by Ashley Smith when she negotiated with Brian Nichols in the Atlanta shooting is a 'textbook case' of the ways to deal with a hostage taker. Ashley Smith talked with the shooting suspect Brian Nichols into turning himself. After spending many hours in her apartment, Nichols permitted Smith to depart and she immediately summoned police. In order to avoid such thing becoming even more passionate, it was not to be considered as to who was correct or incorrect but it is to be thought of as to how to get rid of the things and to be effectively addressed, so that none else could be murdered. After going through the story of Smith it is evident that her trust with Nichols did must to assist them get through the situation safely. Smith was back from a store at 2:30 A.M., when Nichols held a gun to her back and compelled her into the apartment. Smith opined she desired to win his trust and the two discussed for several hours. She first queried him if she could read and got her Bible and read it out. (Moll, 2005)

Smith even demonstrated Nichols the post-mortem report of her husband and said to him that is what many people are required to go through presently since of what she had done. She assisted Nichols trust in something beyond his immediate situation. After she initiated to read the Bible to him he saw her faith and what she really believed in. She expressed him that she was a child of God and that she desired to perform the God's will. She said about God, his causes and the reason behind his making out of there. She expressed him that he was there in Smith's house for a reason. He got out of that courthouse with police everywhere…[continue]

Some Sources Used in Document:

"Negotiation-Strategy-in-Hostage-Scenarios" 

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