Here is a link to more information about the issue of Mental Health/The Mentally Ill and Law Enforcement:
Lubbock Police Train Special
Mental Health Police Officers
It is relatively uncommon for a mental health professional (MHP) to become a member of a police department, sheriff's office, or state police department's hostage (crisis) negotiating team (HNT), even though there is evidence for the inclusion of an MHP leading to more peaceful callout resolution in the case of a hostage taking and a reduction in the number of callouts that end with tactical action being taken (see Butler et al, 1993 for more). For a minority of departments the inclusion of a MHP has been a common practice for many years. But what are the duties of a MHP on an HNT? Before I address this question I would like to advocate for a change in terms. I submit that instead of MHP our profession should use the term Psychological Consultant because MHP is a very broad term and may not clearly denote the duties performed by a MHP as part of an HNT on a SWAT callout.
So what do Psychological Consultants do when part of an HNT? I can speak from my own experience these last 17 years, and can also reference what I have learned from other HNT Psychological Consultants across the US and Canada. Common duties include:
1) Assisting the HNT by listening in on negotiations and suggesting methods and phrases for effective communication.
2) Listening in on negotiations and identifying psychiatric and other conditions that may be influencing negotiations, and then suggesting strategies for communicating.
3) Monitoring the team for stress or other factors that may influence ongoing negotiations.
4) Assisting with communication among the officers responding to an incident.
5) Assisting with the interview and debriefing of witnesses and those involved in an incident.
6) Assisting with suicide and violence risk assessment and prediction.
7) Assisting the HNT via ongoing training leadership and participation.
8) Assisting with new HNT member selection.
There are other duties I, and other Psychological Consultants do on-scene, but this list serves as a starting place and description of the most common duties.
I thoroughly enjoy my work as a Psychological Consultant on a number of HNT's. One reason for this, among many, is because an HNT sometimes has a chance to influence and change a situation instead of having to react to it. The peaceful resolution of a tense and seemingly impossible and deadly situation is a very gratifying experience. Kudos to all the Psychological Consultants giving of themselves to do this great work!
LPD Negotiator Discusses SWAT Callout
By: Elizabeth Lane
Posted: Feb 20, 2017 06:39 PM CST
Updated: Feb 20, 2017 06:39 PM CST
LUBBOCK TX - What Lubbock Police were treating as a potential hostage situation ended peacefully Sunday, partially in thanks to an experienced team of negotiators.
Officer Coby McBroom was just one of 15 negotiators on the case, saying in high-pressure situations, it takes a team to get the job done. McBroom said they train often and are more than prepared for any situation they might face.
"We, as negotiators, have to have that empathy and the ability to invest ourselves in that person and get to understand them and know them, and figure what is going on in their life, and why they're feeling the way they're feeling."
The Officer said each person on their team is competent in all areas of negotiation, and ready to go when they're called upon. Once the on-call Sergeant assigns responsibilities, the team jumps into action.
"They'll divide up who's going to be the primary negotiator, who's going to be the back-up, who's going to be intelligence, who's going to start gathering the intelligence, who's going to set up the command vehicle...so that we can start our negotiation process."
The key to a successful outcome is being prepared for anything.
"They just lay it all out and we roll right through it, and it doesn't really matter if it's a hostage situation, if it's a barricaded subject, if it's a suicidal subject, the steps are the same," McBroom said, "If you keep the steps the same, you work through your processes the same, everything runs a lot smoother, and it makes a more competent and more efficient team."
And another major key: finding a connection with the person on the other end.
"When someone's in crisis and they're having an issue, you've got to build that rapport...and if you don't [build that rapport] you're not going to get anything accomplished, at least nothing positive," McBroom said.
For the Officer, being a negotiator is more than just a job. He said he wants to get people the help they need.
"The risk involved with being a negotiator is no different than the risk involved with being a cop, and when we all chose to put the badge on, we understand the inherent, the risks involved in our job. You do the job because you love the job, regardless of the risk."
Published Monday, February 20th 2017, 9:50 pm EST
Updated Tuesday, February 21st 2017, 11:22 am EST
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -
A SWAT team was called to a residence in the 2800 block of 35th Street Monday night, where a shooting suspect barricaded himself in a home.
Negotiators were able to establish communication with the suspect and the situation was resolved peacefully around 9:15 p.m.
Police received word of a shooting at the residence around 7:45 p.m. after a victim with a gunshot wound reported the incident and gave a detailed description of the suspect.
Police went to the residence and a male matching the description of the suspect answered the door and saw police. He then ran back inside and barricaded himself in the home. SWAT was called to the scene after a shot was fired from inside the residence.
The gunshot victim suffered non-life-threatening injuries. He was able to walk to a relative's house and was then taken to the hospital by private vehicle.
The suspect, 37-year-old Lanny Sanders, is now facing charges of aggravated assault, tampering with evidence, and discharge of a firearm in a municipality. He is being held in the Lubbock County Detention Center where a bond has not been set yet.
Police say the car parked in front of the home was also listed as stolen.
Copyright 2017 KCBD. All rights reserved.
By LUCINDA HOLT
In 2000, the Lubbock Police Department developed its Victim Services Crisis Team with Dr. Andy Young providing assistance with his background in counseling.
Tackling a different type of task a year later, Young was faced with one of the most difficult challenges in his career when had to assist in a SWAT team call out in which an officer was shot and killed in a friendly fire situation.
“And so it would be early on,” Young said, “and the officers didn’t know me, and so to have something so tragic and difficult happen — that was a very trying time for everybody — and I learned a lot and had to do a lot on the fly.”
Young said he often reflects on this story during conferences, and it is one of many in a 13-chapter book he wrote titled, “Fight or Flight: Negotiating Crisis on the Front Line.”
The idea of compiling his stories came from a conference after Young was approached by a fellow speaker who suggested he write a book.
Taking the advice, Young began putting the idea into motion as he worked from stories he had already composed.
If a call weighed heavily on Young, he said he would write it down for the therapeutic component, but after he got serious, the process took more than a year.
With the help of family and friends, editors and his publishing company, Young said his book was finally able to come to fruition and he has received positive feedback ever since.
“I started with the last chapter,” he read a reader’s email aloud. “Powerful and succinct work, but even more importantly, I cried.”
The tales are Young’s own from his experience on the team.
With stories involving several themes, Young details the work and stress of the team as they come in and help when emotions are high.
According to the LPD website, the volunteer team assists victims by providing a variety of on-scene services including counseling.
“At the request of a police officer,” the team’s statement reads, “the Crisis Team volunteers will respond to victims, families, and friends involved in crisis situations such as assaults, suicides or threats of suicide, family violence/domestic disturbances, child abuse/neglect, homicide, suicide, traffic accidents, etc.”
Lubbock police Lt. Mike Steen said the team comes in handy as they step in and fill the void after police leave a scene.
In a time of crisis, he said, people are often left with questions and the team will assist with further information in order to help families reach the next step in healing.
Steen said the book helps show how Dr. Young and the team helps put families’ lives back together, while showing the behind-the-scene side of policing that is not shown on tv.
One of those scenes discussed in the book, are death notifications.
Young said his book details the emotions involved for both victims and police, as families learn of the passing of their loved one.
Sometimes knocking on a stranger’s door in the middle of the night, people receive the news from officers.
Stories like this can be found through the pages, as Young gives about four to five tales per chapter.
Originally published on October 27, 2015, Young has been speaking at conferences and promoting his book in an effort to give people an inside look at the perils and passion that comes with a career in law enforcement.
As the team of 35 work in assisting those faced with crisis, he said its easy for the public to judge policing based on half-truths.
“I think our society is making a mistake making these judgments just based on that and getting emotional about things based on partial information or based on what they believed to be true.”
While he calls the book’s timing coincidental in relation to societal tensions involving law enforcement, he said it can be beneficial for the kinds of conversations people are having these days.
Echoing Young, Steen said the book will help show readers how police are human, and like everyone else, they have families.
Even though they feel the emotional affects of their duties, someone has to do the work.
Young said he hopes the honest-telling of these stories will help provide some insight to the hardships law enforcement faces on a daily basis.
“It’s hard to summarize 16 years in a book,” Young said, “but there’s a start.”
As a crisis counselor and hostage negotiator with my local police department and sheriff’s office I have seen many traumatic events and varied reactions to those events. From deceased infants and children, to hostage takings that ended in the death of the hostage and perpetrator, to traffic fatalities, to sexual assaults . . . though I have responded to many of each of these I continue to see varied reactions.
Most people are familiar with the information about reacting to threatening or traumatic events by either fighting or fleeing. Many people are confused when they react to a traumatic event like a death by wanting to run away or fight with someone, but it happens frequently. Then there are the less commonly discussed reactions of posturing or submitting. To posture means to look threatening and intimidating in an effort to communicate “you do not want to fight me,” much like the way my cat acts when another cat enters his territory. Similarly, people will paint their faces and wear excessively large helmets as they go to war, or lash out in anger when threatened and hurt.
I remember responding to the family room of my local ER at the request of law enforcement. An infant died that night and the family was very distraught. I dawned my khaki cargo pants, navy blue shirt with the city emblem on it (it looks similar to a police badge), a police department hat to cover my bedhead, and my police radio (complete with mic cord on my shoulder and earbud in my ear). I met officers in the hall and they briefed me on the situation, including the fact that the father had a long and rough history with law enforcement. I then entered the room and saw a large group gathered to console the parents. I was then greeted by the father who jumped out of his chair, came at me with his finger pointed and said he did not want the f’in police here. As I was met with his grief and his anger my natural and instinctual inclination was to submit to his posturing. I automatically put my hands behind me and started walking backwards. I noticed afterwards that I slumped a little and put my head down too (I am six feet, two inches tall and apparently I look intimidating even on happy days).
Another example of a fight-like reaction that will forever remain with me was the night I was called by a police sergeant to assist with a death notification. Earlier that night a teenage girl took her parent’s car and subsequently picked up two of her friends to go joy riding. Unfortunately, she ran a stop sign and was T-boned and her friend died on scene. As the sergeant and I walked to the front door of the deceased friend’s home at 3 am to make notification, we both knew this was going to be awful. After knocking we were met by the girl’s father and invited in. The sergeant asked if the deceased girl lived there and the father acknowledged this and said she is in her room sleeping. My stomach dropped as the sergeant informed him about the accident and fatality that occurred tonight. I interjected and asked, are you sure your daughter is in her room sleeping? The father went around the corner and I could hear him try to open a locked bedroom door. Then came the sound of him forcing the door open and finding an empty room and open window. His sound of grief was devastating. The rest of the family was now awake and he informed them of what happened. The family then joined him in his grief. I watched as this father looked and pointed up at the ceiling and said, F-you God repeatedly . . . his anger made perfect sense to me and was pointed at the correct source.
It is imperative that mental health professionals and law enforcement understand the impact of and reactions to deadly threats, trauma, and grief. These reactions are less disorienting when considered from the framework of fight, flight, posture or submit. For me it has been most helpful to remember that these root responses, and all the manifestations of them, are not to be taken personally, even when pointed at me or my God. Lashing out, running off and isolating, yelling and screaming . . . all make more sense to me now. In my experience, submitting is the least common reaction. For someone to experience a traumatic death or be the victim of a horrible experience like a sexual assault, and be able to accept that this happened to them, is an amazing thing to watch as a crisis counselor or therapist. This is not a traditional definition of submission, and acceptance of these situations is not the norm, but in my mind it is fitting to think of acceptance as submitting to the reality of the situation at hand because the person is able to accept their new reality, and this is the first step in being able to find ways to cope with it, and even grow from it and beyond.
I spoke with the victim of a sexual assault a number of years ago, and we met for weeks as she struggled to accept/submit to her circumstances. She knew she needed to, but acceptance was difficult for her. I remember vividly the day she accepted what happened and said to me, “I was raped.” Her tone, body language and affect were all congruent with someone who had just accepted/submitted to what had happened. And soon after this came resolve, fortitude, and peace regarding what had happened to her. She saw things differently and without any self-blame or guilt. This was something that happened to her, and she could now go about the business of healing and living her life. It was amazing to watch a strength come over her as she came to terms with what happened.
Traumatic events are often confusing, as is our reactions to them. Having a clear understanding of the road through and out of traumatic events provides people with peace, understanding, and gets them on their way to healing and even growth in the wake of these events.