In this particular incident, there is already proof of the hostage-takers capability to kill, removing the aspect that the hostage taker is merely cornered and bluffing, and making this particular situation and incident a high level crisis that should be handled with care since many more lives are in direct danger. Which category this hostage-taker falls into Media entity BBC (2001) published an article about negotiation, and it provided four different types of hostage taker, and the hostage taker in this particular situation falls under the category of mentally disturbed.
The demands are easily a sign that points to the mental imbalance of the hostage taker, as his rational thinking was not able to rationalize that a case of beer and some fast food is something that he can acquire even without resorting to a course of action which might actually get him/her killed in the first place.
The hostage taker may also fall in the other three categories provided by the BBC article, but this is pending the assessment of new information about the hostage taker, since it takes a few minutes to establish the hostage takers criminal record and if the hostage taker was a plain criminal, or even a terrorist, or even someone who is caught in a domestic problem and resulted to shooting other people and having the rest of the hostage takers family as hostage after the murder of the next door neighbor.
Your optimal role is in the situation As a team leader, the role of the psychologist is to be able to provide a way wherein the hostage crisis ends up with no one person getting hurt or killed, doing this with the use of tools and ways found in the area of psychological strength and power. As a psychologist, the role in the situation is to make sure to remind the rest of the team about the importance of being careful how the negotiation is being done since the collapse of the negotiation can mean that the hostage taker(s) have won already or that they have nothing to do anymore in the particular situation.
Provide a plan and course of action to interact with this person There are protocols that the negotiating teams of particular law enforcement units abide to, sort of a by-the-book conduct when situations like this occur. But these guidelines are more of general instructions during hostage taking incidents because in the end, the course of action needed to interact with the hostage taker and to be able to successfully diffuse the tension without any fatality or injuries is still dependent on how the hostage taker and the negotiating team interact.
Talk to the hostage taker it is important to have a consistent conversation with the hostage taker all throughout the incident, and this is for many different reasons. First, this is important because this enables you to know more about the hostage taker and perhaps allow you a breakthrough and convince the hostage taker to surrender, and second, because it provides a way for you and the rest of the law enforcement team to be able to monitor the well being of the hostages.
Provide demands the negotiating team can provide some of the demands that the hostage cannot use to escape or that which it cannot use as leverage, like the case of beer and the take-out food in this situation. Apprehension of hostage taker The negotiating team should not ignore the fact that one person is already dead because of the hostage taker, and as the Truro Police Department pointed out in its material on hostage taking, action to apprehend the hostage taker who has already killed a person should be constructed and enforced immediately so as not to risk losing any more human life.
What precautions will you and the department take If rank permits the assuming of role of team leader for this particular hostage taking crisis, then the first priority is the securing of the area and the evacuation of the people in the immediate vicinity towards safer locations so that there are minimal number of lives at the line should the negotiation fall off for the worse and the hostage taker proceeds with his wanton killing spree.
The next move is to mobilize particular police units and squads to act as the primary assault force in case negotiations broke down and the need for engaging the hostage taker with the use of lethal force becomes imperative. Snipers should be positioned in areas where they can get a clean shot and take down the hostage taker. The assault teams should be briefed about the lay out of the house and its features so that they would know how to move about during incursion.
A command center should be set up and the profile of the hostage taker as well as the hostages should be reviewed so that the negotiating team would have an idea about the personality of the hostage taker and find a possible trait which the negotiators can use to force the hostage taker to surrender without any further bloodshed. Close relatives of the hostage taker should be immediately contacted in case they might prove useful during the negotiation.
Once the nearby school and library is vacated and secure, other members of the police force should reorganize transportation and human traffic and lead it away from the hostage taking area. What tertiary problems do you foresee in the prolonged standoff and how would you address them In cases of a prolonged standoff, the traditional belief is that it usually works in favor of the police officers since prolonged standoff makes the hostage taker tired, weary, hungry and stressed that its mental guard and alertness drops without the hostage taker noticing it.
Sometimes, the prolonged standoff gives the hostage taker the time he or she needs to re-assess her actions. Prolonged standoff also allows the hostage taker to calm down and to start rationalizing, and usually, when the calmer side starts to take over, the fear of death and the realization that it is not easy to battle and survive against the police force takes over and forces the person to surrender.
Prolonged standoff also shows that the hostage taker cannot kill the hostage or it cannot kill the hostages for a particular reason, like using it as a shield to protect the hostage takers life from a direct assault, or using the hostage for financial or material gains made during the negotiation. Possible problems that may arise from a prolonged standoff include the worsening health condition of the hostages and the possible worsening mental state of the hostage taker which can still trigger the hostage taker to his/her final act of life taking.
In hostage taking, the emotional state, the physical state and the mental state of the hostages are all not in its normal state. Nervousness may trigger heart attack or high blood pressure among some of the hostages, while panic and fear may disrupt or affect a persons state of mind, and that particular casualty is another thing that the police try to avoid, ergo opting for the diffusing of the hostage taking incident as early as possible.
What sources would you use to gather information regarding the perpetrator To be able to profile the hostage taker sufficiently enough for it to provide the negotiating team something to build from, there are two different sources from which the police officer can extract information about the personal details of the life of the hostage taker. The first source include several government agencies that has a personal information database (i. e.
social security, police office for criminal records, different offices of the US legal system that can provide information about the previous cases for which he was tried for, immigration, previous educational institutions attended, social institutions attended etc). Another good source for information to profile the hostage taker are the hostage takers relatives, friends and acquaintances he/she was often seen with or those which are close to him/her at least in the last six months.
What specific information would you want to have about the hostage taker A psychologist imbedded in the negotiating team understands that every information about the hostage taker is important the basic bio information, criminal records, school records, records from affiliations, health records, records of recent purchases, trips the hostage taker took in the last six month, etc since these are all important in profiling the hostage taker and would also allow in the formation of a sound and educated guess as to the present state of mind of the hostage taker as well as the real motivation and the extent of the will of the hostage taker in taking more and more innocent lives.
Identify some probable hypothesis as to the perpetrators mental state, symptom presentation, and the likely outcome of the incident The hostage taker is suffering from mental illness and has just moments of clear thinking. He/she maybe depressed, frustrated and/or pushed to his/her emotional limits by either the mental imbalance or by an experience that unhinged his sanity. But despite this, there is still a chance that the hostage drama will end without any more getting hurt. Example of this is incident is the surrendering of a man who is believed to be mentally unstable after a five hour hostage drama that involved the members of Hillary Clintons campaign team.
Speak to the roles you could have played in preparation for crisis incidents and how it could have benefited the department The main role of the psychologists in the law enforcement units handling hostage incidents is to provide specific information on how to handle this kinds of situation using many different tools for psychological warfare which the police can win and can result to no injuries and fatalities for any one involved in the drama. This course of action benefits the police department as it allows for lesser fatalities in the departments records. Identify what needs to occur before you as the psychologist can become an integral part of the team A psychologist can become a part of the negotiating team after earning units in police operations and protocol and qualifying for the position.
With the growing realization that the police force needs a diverse set of individuals like psychologists, more and more slots are opening up to provide this particular set of professionals a spot at the law enforcement units in America as well as in other police forces around the world.
BBC News (October 20, 2001). The Art of Siege Negotiations. Retrieved March 2, 2008, from http://news. bbc. co. uk/2/hi/uk_news/1610761. stm The Times of India (December 1, 2007). Hostage drama at Hillarys campaign office ends peacefully. Retrieved March 2, 2008, from http://timesofindia. indiatimes. com/Hostage_drama_at_Hillarys_office_ends/articleshow/2586898. cms Truro Police Department. (December 20, 2000). Hostage Situations. Policy Number: OPS 6. 21. Retrieved March 2, 2008, from www. truropolice. org/On Line Manuals/Hostages. pdf