THE MAGAZINE

Crisis negotiation

In early September, four men in suburban Carácas disguised themselves as police officers and kidnapped the mother of Ugueth Urbina, a baseball pitcher from Venezuela who plays for the Detroit Tigers. The outcome of the incident was unknown at press time. That's just one example of how, in the globalizing marketplace, corporate executives and other high-profile personnel and their families are at constant risk of abduction. Though many companies have policies and programs in place to reduce that vulnerability, they often neglect to plan for a post-kidnapping scenario, in which they must work closely with police. Crucial to the safe recovery of a victim is the creation of a negotiation operations center, according to an article in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin. That center may be at corporate headquarters or the site at which the victim works. The center provides hostage negotiators and other police personnel with a suitable place to answer and discreetly monitor calls. "The negotiation operations center also should have an area where the team can conduct private meetings, hold shift-change discussions, and conduct telephone conversations with investigators, yet offer sufficient privacy to the family" of the victim, which should be assembled there, according to the article. Although the article refers to the role of the police negotiators, security professionals can adopt the same techniques to learn how to work with law enforcement during delicate negotiations. The article is on SM Online.

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