SAN MARCOS – More than 300 law enforcement officers will converge on Texas State University January 13-16 for the 30th Annual Competition and Seminar for Crisis Negotiations.
Approximately 30 teams will participate in 2020, with municipal and state law enforcement units coming in from across the U.S., including local representatives from Hays County as well as New England and California, said Wayman Mullins, a professor in the Department of Criminal Justice and an expert in hostage and crisis negotiations and terrorism. International teams from Canada and Singapore will also participate.
“Negotiators save lives,” Mullins said. “They come here for the training. The better trained they are, the better they do their jobs.”
Monday and Tuesday are dedicated to classroom sessions and seminars. Wednesday and Thursday will see the teams conducting mock hostage negotiation exercises, where they’ll be graded by top experts in the field. The teams work in one room, with university faculty playing the role of antagonists in another.
Hostage-taking situations are rare, but other events, demand negotiation skill sets. For instance, barricade situations happen when police attempt to serve a warrant and the intended recipient blocks the door and threatens anyone who approaches.
Domestic conflict can escalate to a person holding family members against their will. High-risk suicides are another instance where negotiators become involved with the goal of preserving life.