Crisis Negotiation Team
When violent or troubled subjects create a crisis, they force police officers to respond to situations in which the offender holds many of the cards. The South Lake Tahoe Crisis Negotiation Team (CNT) is a group of specially trained law enforcement officers selected and trained to communicate directly with such individuals. They deal directly with hostage takers, suicidal persons, and barricaded subjects, often suspected of being heavily armed and already involved in critical incidents.
The team is separate from, yet works closely with, the Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT). Both teams are often called upon during the same mission, whereby CNT may be used first to try and resolve the situation peacefully.
Each crisis incident is unique, and in negotiations, as in most endeavors, no absolute exists. However, national statistics have revealed that Crisis Negotiation teams across the United States are over 90% successful in resolving situations, avoiding the need for SWAT deployment.
These crisis situations are often tense and rapidly evolving encounters, resulting in especially trying and stressful moments for law enforcement. It is the crisis negotiator that establishes contact with these dangerous individuals and works to resolve tense and often volatile standoffs without the loss of life.
The incidents handled by the South Lake Tahoe Crisis Negotiation Team are often highly charged emotionally and require an extraordinary amount of patience, self control, perception, and creative problem solving on the part of the negotiators. Hostage negotiators are sworn police officers and perform crisis negotiation as a secondary function on a voluntary basis. Training for a crisis negotiator is continuous throughout their assignment to the unit.