The Hostage Negotiations Team formed in 1981 to bring about peaceful resolution to extremely volatile situations. The team responds to many callouts throughout Washington County each year. Typical calls might involve a person barricaded in a building to avoid arrest, someone threatening the life of a hostage or a wide variety of other crisis events that threaten the safety of the community. The vast majority of incidents are resolved without further injury or violence.
Hostage negotiators work to establish an ongoing dialog and rapport with the person or persons involved in the crisis. Team members gather information on the people involved, compile psychological profiles, interview witnesses, and analyze intelligence information. As you can imagine, hostage negotiators use these skills when deployed with the Tactical Negotiations Team. Often hostage negotiators deploy with the Tactical Negotiations Team when high-risk search warrants are served on dangerous felons.
The Hostage Negotiations Team is an interagency team comprised of members from the Sheriff's Office, officers from the Beaverton, Hillsboro and Tigard police departments, as well as a mental health consultant who deploys with the team. All team members receive specialized training from the FBI and Western States Hostage Negotiators Association. They also attend monthly training events and are proficient in the best practices of their field.
Members also provide capsulated crisis negotiations training for first responders in the Sheriff's Patrol and Jail Divisions and to members of outside agencies. In this way, they share expertise to make other law enforcement officers and deputies more effective in handling calls while on patrol.
For more information about the Washington County Hostage Negotiations Team, contact Sergeant Mike Alexander at (503) 846-2558.