A number of methods of learning are available. Studies have shown that most people learn best if the information is presented in more than one format. Because the police officers involved in the crisis prevention will eventually be involved in real-life hostage situations, it is very important that they learn the information effectively. The training will involve a forty hour training, which will take place over a work week. The training would involve all staff that would in some way be involved with a hostage crisis. This would include the police who would respond first to the scene, specialists who would be called in, and dispatchers who take the calls for help.
The first day of training would be in oral format. The information would include an introduction of the type of crisis and the basics on the type of people who would be involved (nervous, stressed, frightened, volatile people, who need to be handled very carefully), types of situations, potential places and victims. To get involvement experienced police officers would be encouraged to provide insights on real- life situations and the group could problem solve how to respond.
The second day would be watching video trainings of actual situations, then having question and answers over how they were handled and the outcomes. The third day the group would be divided into small groups. Each group would be given a situation (domestic disturbance with the father holding the family hostage or five armed gunmen in an elementary school). Each group would decide the best way to handle the situation, and then the entire group would discuss all of the scenarios and discuss how individual situations would be handled differently. They would discuss whether the father would be more likely to become violent or the gunmen in the school, or a disgruntled employee in his former employer’s office. They would then discuss such issues as motive and background to determine which personalities would be more likely to escalate and which could be talked down.
The fourth day would involve the legal issues on how to deal with hostage situations and what promises or threats could be made. The issue of homeland security would come about for public buildings and the United States policy on negotiating with terrorists would be an issue for discussion.
The fifth day would be putting the information to the test in a simulated hostage situation. Each member of the group would be required to cover his or her job as if it was a real hostage situation. At the end of it debriefing would occur to discuss what went well and what needed improvement.
In a case potentially involving members of the police department it would be very important to keep the information about the case among the main investigators of the case. The role of the psychologist in this case would be to retrace the events of the mayor’s last moments. This would involve learning more about the meeting that had taken place between him and the other prominent official. Since this was the last time he had been seen alive it would be important to find out if something about the meeting led to his death.
Part of the psychologist’s job would be to find out if any of the police officials might be involved. In addition to this the psychologist would need to support the other investigators when they have to investigate their co-workers and their superiors. Investigating people close to them could be very difficult for the investigators, especially if they should happen to find that some of their colleagues were involved. In the case that there was police involvement in the murder and the investigators became forced to testify against people they have worked with or for it could create new need for the psychologists.
In this situation the psychologist would need to provide support for the investigating officers through the investigation and the trial, against the fear of retaliation. Part of this would involve observing the behavior of other officers towards the investigating officers and being aware of changed behavior towards them. The tools needed for the psychologist’s role would include such things as observation skills, client records and profiles. It would require interviewing and record keeping as well as assisting the investigating officers in finding the motive for the murder.
In any field effective management is very important and the relationship between management and subordinates is very important. In the police field it is exceptionally important, because not only does the effectiveness of the business depend on a positive relationship, but the very lives of the police officers could be involved.
If the management of the police force is not well organized people can be sent on assignments without needed information or equipment, and be injured or killed on the assignment.
Strong management needs to be organized and well informed. Management needs to be aware of the details of cases and situations before officers are placed in harms way. Although in police work there is no way to completely avoid danger, the severity and threat can be minimized by appropriate and thought out preparation and training. For a manager to be effective in placing employees in the proper positions and assignments, it is important for the manager to know the employee’s strengths and weaknesses.
The psychologist can be helpful in this area by getting to know both the management team and the officers. By studying the personality styles of everyone involved, the psychologist can help match managers with the subordinates who would work best with them in order to make the team more effective. In addition to matching people, the psychologist would be effective in helping management know what assignments and positions would be best for which officers.
In time of crisis or after a stressful assignment, the psychologist would be very important in debriefing the staff and minimizing conflicts among staff members.
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