Shapeshifting: Effective Scenario Training for Crisis/Hostage Negotiation Teams

Shapeshifting_front coverComments of Two Veteran Negotiators

This is a great book, and long overdue. It is the most practical book on negotiation that I’ve ever read. The preface leading up to the scenarios is a great review of negotiation skills, and gives the training coordinator a ready reference to clearly understand where these training events need to go, as well as how to give comprehensive directions to the actors.

This will be a great training tool. The scenarios are realistic and create a lot of challenge for both the new and veteran negotiator. Tactics are sound, and offer plenty of opportunity to cross train with other units, agencies, and entities.
Hardbound - $59.95
For Crisis/Hostage Negotiation Teams

Crisis negotiation is one of the most remarkable areas of law enforcement. Through a combination of tactical communication, empathic connection and, at times, subterfuge, negotiators persuade desperate, suicidal or homicidal individuals, often intoxicated or mentally ill, to relinquish their position of power and submit to police authority.

Not all barricaded or static situations, however, are truly negotiable. Some perpetrators may merely desire an audience to their crime, or someone to keep them company before committing suicide. In other cases, they are trying to set up either a ‘suicide by cop’ or an ambush. In all such cases, the negotiator serves a vital function: focusing the subject’s attention upon his or her voice to give tactical officers time and position to directly intervene to stop the crime in process.

In this book, the reader will find thirty different training scenarios that cover the gamut of mental illness and personality disorders, as well as common situations that lead otherwise ordinary people into desperation. Most of them are based on cases that one or the other of the authors have actually encountered. There are full instructions on how to set up the scenario, and how to brief the role player so that he or she plays it true-to-life. The scenarios are colorful, unpredictable, and multi-layered, and require active involvement of the secondary negotiator and the rest of the team for intelligence gathering. Just as a real situation can change radically when new information is acquired, most of the scenarios will have unexpected twists that require the negotiators to think on their feet, and sometimes diametrically change directions. Many include SWAT, and some are specifically crafted so that tactical officers can practice various skills during the scenarios, such as food deliveries, release of an injured hostage, delivery of the throw phone, or documents the subject has demanded. They can plant listening devices, or attempt to get a visual on the scene. Team leaders can program the negotiation exercise for ‘failure,’ something that neither SWAT nor the negotiators will be informed. When it is suddenly time to go, they must be ready to tactically respond.

Calibre Press Review of Shapeshifting – Dave Grossi

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