This story was written by Katherine Gregory and found on the web at the following link:
Some State Police troopers got a lesson in listening last week from a group of Pittsburgh-based FBI special agents and negotiators during a week-long crisis negotiation class.
The more than two dozen troopers from various departments learned a new way to deal with people in a crisis, whether an offender is holding hostages, has barricaded himself in a room, or is even threatening suicide.
The FBI's approach to negotiation is an art based on the science of how to deal with people effectively to bring about a peaceful resolution, said classroom instructor and negotiator Special Agent Steve Viglianco.
Unfortunately for many law enforcement officers, learning how to best deal with a crisis from the FBI goes against the grain of what they've been taught in every other aspect of their professional life.
"What we teach is very different from the standard law enforcement approach to dealing with situations," he said. "In general, law enforcement officers of all levels are taught to be in command, be authoritative, seize control and solve the problem at hand."
Viglianco, along with fellow FBI negotiators Mike Yansick and John Kelly, preach a code of active listening, where negotiators are trained to listen to what a person is telling them in a comprehensive sense.
"What are they saying? What is being said in an unspoken fashion and, critically, the emotional content," he said. "What is the emotion that is attached to whatever they are telling you. Is it despair? Anger? Frustration? Betrayal?"
After an officer hears something in a comprehensive sense, the most important part is reflecting back to the person.
"You need to demonstrate to them that you really get it, you really understand," Viglianco said. "It doesn't mean you have to agree with what they are doing, but you have to play it back and convince them that you really get it."
Viglianco, who has been a negotiator since 2000, said teaching the classes is another way to keep his own skills up to date.
"This a very perishable skill. We always tell them, 'If you don't make use of this stuff, you'll lose it' " he said.
While it's something that sounds simple, the concept is a little tricky.
"Law enforcement officers generally are not trained to act that way. It's really counterintuitive to what they have been taught and conditioned, many of us for years," Viglianco said.
"It's law enforcement's nature, and many people's expectations, that we'll arrive and take charge quickly," Tilley said, "but the individual really needs to assess the situation before acting. Officers are generally taught to react, and react quickly."
The FBI believes that active listening is a more effective way to deal with crisis situations.
"When someone is in crisis, they can be a danger to themselves or others and they have a very high emotional level," he said. "The first goal is to engage them and reduce that emotion and bring them down to an emotional equilibrium where they are more rational.
"You can't deal with them in a rational, problem-solving level until you bring them down."
Viglianco said that while there are many benefits to the class, the cornerstone of new learning for the officers is that the only one thing they can really control in a crisis situation is their own emotions.
"Stay in control or your just adding to a bad situation," he said.
How is it possible the Pittsburgh FBI and Pennsylvania State Police didn't understand or implement this strategy during the recent efforts to forcefully subdue the peacefully assembled public, but have no problem when it comes to telling other policemen how it should be handled?
Which objective do YOU think the FBI-State Police endorse- staying in control, forcing control upon others, or creating bad situations?
Will the FBI-State Police-Military-National Guard walk the walk, or merely talk the talk?
From what can be seen, should We the People have reason to believe the government intelligence agencies, military and State Police have reason/s to believe there will be a continuing basis for so-called 'crisis negotiation'? Will those reasons be the implementation of Martial Law, or civil disturbances due to a massive forced vaccination effort against H1N1?
Yes, We the People really get it. We really understand.
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