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What To Do If You Are Taken Hostage

NCJ Number
Police: The Law Enforcement Magazine Volume: 25 Issue: 1 Dated: January 2001 Pages: 44-45
Cecil Pearson
Date Published
January 2001
2 pages
This article suggests actions for police officers if they are taken hostage.
The article recommends that police officers who are taken hostage: (1) project the image of a person who can accept adversity with dignity, displaying neither bravado nor cowardice; (2) communicate with the captor if questioned, but do not become argumentative or attempt to negotiate; (3) set goals, e.g., eating and exercising; (4) have faith; (5) remember that time is on your side; (6) cooperate, and be the best hostage you can be; (7) avoid windows and doors and try to keep all the hostages as close together as possible; (8) avoid abrupt movements; (9) take mental notes of everything that happens; (10) overpower the hostage-taker if there is an opportunity, but prepare for and expect swift retaliation if the attempt is unsuccessful; (11) as with the previous statement, the hostage will have only one chance to make an effort to escape, but expect retribution if the attempt fails; and (12) maintain morale, which projects an aura of order and calm in the center of a bizarre event. Hostage incidents may be terminated by a negotiated settlement or by a tactical assault. In both instances, released hostages must be interviewed and debriefed, and examined by a physician and therapist to determine their physical and mental conditions.