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Role of Tactical Emergency Medical Support in Hostage and Crisis Negotiations

NCJ Number
Journal of Police Negotiations Volume: 2 Issue: 1 Dated: 2001 Pages: 29-33
James L. Greenstone Ed.D.
Date Published
5 pages
This article discusses the roles that tactical medical personnel can play that are specific to the needs of police negotiators in hostage and/or crisis situations.
Negotiators, as well as SWAT teams, may not only need medical attention but also tactical medics, also known as CONTOMS or Counter Narcotics Tactical Operations Medical Support program, who can support the primary activities of police negotiators. Medical personnel can alert negotiation team leaders of potentially performance degrading evaluation conditions, and positively affect unit morale. A case example is given wherein tactical medics were able to provide a medical assessment of the subject regarding injuries enabling negotiators to concentrate on the more important psychological aspects of the subject and situation, and also providing information on use and actions of medications that the subject stated he was taking. Protection of the negotiators in terms of providing cold weather assistance, and the promise to the subject of medical and psychological assessment upon surrender was instrumental in the subject being willing to surrender peacefully. The services of the tactical medics can go beyond provision of traditional medical aid and provide information that will make the difference between a successful and non-successful hostage or barricaded incident.