Tactical Analysis, Crisis Management, and Negotiation

For five years, Glenn Grana was assigned to the Sheriff's Hostage Response Team (HRT) as a hostage negotiator, negotiating situations ranging from suicidal individuals to barricaded gunmen holding hostages. Regardless of the situation, the process of negotiation relied heavily on the use of intelligence on the subject, situation, or location, to help him best maneuver the negotiation to a successful resolution.

From a crisis management perspective, whether the analyst is involved in a hostage situation, an active shooter situation, or some other crisis, success is measured simply in terms of the life you save. One of the most critical stages in the crisis management process—particularly in terms of the success of crisis negotiations and tactical operational planning—is the analytical stage, the stage in which intelligence is mined, disseminated, prioritized, and eventually relayed to the lead negotiator or crisis team leader.

By introducing a tactical analyst into the team as a working component related to the law enforcement’s crisis management protocol, you can create a team member who combines the analytical strengths of the tactical analyst with the negotiating strengths of the crisis negotiator. What is most important here is the tactical analyst’s ability to rapidly data mine and analyze information obtained from multiple data sources, while—at the same time—applying their understanding of the theories and practices that law enforcement crisis managers follow. If successful, it will create an analytical process uniquely suited to the needs of crisis management.

If a crisis management team is willing to consider utilizing the skills of a tactical analyst, the process should begin with both parties acknowledging a mutual understanding of each others skill sets, abilities, and roles in order to achieve the comfort zone necessary to create a cohesive working, and trusting, relationship.

What the Tactical Analyst Needs to Understand

In order to step into a role as a valuable member of a crisis management team, a tactical analyst needs to have an understanding and working knowledge of

  • • Criminal behavior
  • • Crisis management protocol
  • • The “real-time” process of crisis negotiations

On the other hand, in order to accept the contributions of the tactical analyst, the crisis manager needs to understand

  • • The analytical process
  • • The intelligence available to the analyst

The ultimate goal during any crisis situation is to achieve a successful resolution. For this to occur, the negotiation process needs to focus on the root cause of the crisis. Regardless of whether the motivation is emotionally, politically, or criminally driven, identifying the subjects true reason for creating the situation is critical. Therein lies the importance of the intelligence process.

Crisis Management Protocol

The crisis management protocol is a set of guidelines or procedures that define and regulate a police department during a crisis. If a police department has a Hostage Recovery Team (HRT), for instance, the protocol indicates the roles and responsibilities of various officers during a crisis. A crisis could mean that one or more individuals are suicidal, barricaded, hostage-taking, or engaged in terrorist activities.

Often a protocol will provide the incident commander with negotiators who have been specifically trained and equipped to diffuse critical incidents involving suspects who are responsible for the crisis. The trained negotiator seeks to accomplish their assigned task by persuasion, thus minimizing the need for the use of force; yet they also continually provide the field and tactical (SWAT) commanders with intelligence should a tactical solution be required.

By using a tactical analyst in support of the intelligence gathering process, information and actionable intelligence would be readily available once it has been rapidly data mined by the analyst who has been cross-trained in the skill set involving the negotiation process:

Primary negotiator. The duties of the primary negotiator in a crisis event are to establish contact with the suspect(s) and deal exclusively with that suspect(s) until relieved.

Secondary negotiator: The secondary negotiator monitors all conversations between the primary negotiator and the suspect and/or hostages.

Intelligence officer. The member assigned to intelligence gathering is charged with the responsibility of gathering intelligence on the suspect and/ or hostage(s) for the negotiators, the team leader, the tactical (SWAT) commander, and the incident commander. He or she also debriefs those who may have tactical or intelligence information relating to the critical incident.

Prior to the advent of todays technology; intelligence gathering was a tedious, time-consuming process that did not always yield the most up-to-date intelligence on the subject. By introducing an analyst who is tactically trained to multitask, and trained to rapidly data mine through a crisis, information that may have been lost in previous years can now be located, analyzed, and disseminated more rapidly.

 
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