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Are hostage negotiators lazy bums?

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Shifty Squid, Sep 14, 2006.

  1. Shifty Squid

    Shifty Squid Member

    I was watching the personified monkey crap that is that new TV show with the dude from Office Space the other night and had a question I was sure only the SportsJournalists.com community would be qualified to answer.

    What's the deal with hostage negotiators? I guess all big-city police departments have them, but can you really be a full-time hostage negotiator? How many hostage situations in a metro area could there possibly be over the course of a week/month/year? I live in a pretty good-sized city, and there has been exactly one hostage situation during the three-plus years I've lived here. They're supposed to be in L.A. Are there just a lot of whack jobs in L.A. who take people hostage all the time?

    Does anyone know anything about this? Are hostage negotiators just psychologists who can be called out by the police department when they're needed? Are they simply cops trained in the fine art of ordering pizza for screaming criminals? Does anybody know? Is this a stupid question?
  2. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    I can't offer an answer, because I don't know for sure. But I used to go to the same gym as the police officer who was the first cop on the scene during the bank hostage situation that was the basis for the movie Dog Day Afternoon. He was telling me about it one day, and said that the NYPD was totally unprepared for handling it. It was after that, that "hostage negotiator " became a specialized job, rather than the nearest guy grabbing a bullhorn. My bet is that they have officers who receive training in how to deal with those situations, but they are otherwise assigned to other duties most of the time. When there is a hostage situation, they get called in.
  3. Larry Miller in Best In Show is a good one.
    "I'm going to stick a fork right in your eye."
  4. novelist_wannabe

    novelist_wannabe Well-Known Member

    The negotiators in "Standoff" are with the FBI field office in LA, and he told the perp in the second episode that he is a "crisis negotiator" instead of "hostage negotiator." But the premise for your question stands. A lot of training and a chance to actually use it a few times a year would be my guess. With lots of time, apparently to bang your hot partner.
  5. novelist_wannabe

    novelist_wannabe Well-Known Member

    BTW, when the producers of that show have a supervisor come to him and say, "You know, if you could just talk that jumper down from the top of the Tower Records building, that'd be greaaaaaat," the show will be dead to me.
  6. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    I would also guess they're not too localized. In other words, there might be a few that are assigned to handle situations all over the Northeast, not one in Burlington, Vt., one in Portland, Maine, etc., etc. When said situation arises, it's hop in a chopper and go.
  7. dog428

    dog428 Active Member

    I was thinking the same thing the other night watching this show. Talked to a friend of mine at the local PD and he said you'd be surprised just how many hostage or standoff situations there are each year, many of which never make into the media. Lots of things are considered "standoffs," and a negotiator brought in.

    For example, he said last week they went to serve a warrant and the guy locked himself in his parents' house and refused to come out. They didn't wanna go tearing up the parents' home to get their deadbeat son, so they called in the negotiator. Took about 20 minutes, guy came walking out. No big deal.

    Said they have one or two of those every couple months, sometimes more. And this isn't exactly some "big" city we're talking. Decent size, but not major metro. I can imagine a place like LA or NY would have quite a few more.

    Oh, and the negotiator isn't just negotiating. He's got another job, most of the time an administrative job of some sorts.
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