Police Psychology into the 21st Century

By Martin I. Kurke; Ellen M. Scrivner | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN
Tactics and Negotiating Techniques (TNT): The Way of the Past and the Way of the Future

James L. Greenstone Fort Worth, TX Police Department

The divergence of tactical and negotiating teams from a common attitude toward, and a common body of knowledge for effectively dealing with, hostage, barricade, and suicide incidents raises the spectre of serious problems in such circumstances. This chapter discusses the problem of team divergence, includes some of the common body of knowledge needed, and suggests some of the possible solutions to this dilemma. The focus of this chapter is not new. It comes to us from the past and perhaps it represents a better way for the future.

Somewhere along the line, a good idea may have become sidetracked. What started out to be a comprehensive approach to hostage and barricade situations has developed into two separate camps, both designed to accomplish the same thing in separate ways. Early concepts stressed the importance of training in both tactical and negotiating techniques for all of those involved in such incidents. Perhaps this note from the past is a lesson for the future. In the pursuit of highly specialized tactical units and equally proficient negotiating units, the potential synergism of cross-trained personnel has been lost or at least dissipated. There is that pervasive tendency for tactical officers to feel that their job, by its nature, does not require them to develop the skills of communications and psychological sensitivity. Negotiators may share similarly parochial feelings from their particular advantage. Veritas est in media: The truth is in the middle; a phrase for us all to remember in this context. Although the development of specialized tactical and negotiations units has a certain value above and beyond the combining of such units,

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