The Crisis Negotiation Team (CNT), is a team of trained Law Enforcement personnel whose focus is to intervene during a crisis, and through the power of listening and talking, try to resolve the situation to the benefit of all involved. This team is separate from, yet works with, the Special Response Team. Both teams can be called in on the same situation, whereby CNT may be used first to try and successfully resolve the situation.
Not all situations will call for both teams to be used. Some situations may call for just CNT.
Some of the types of calls CNT is prepared to respond to include suicide threats, barricaded subjects and hostage situations.
Some of the most important tools for CNT are communication skills and methods. Communication is more than just being able to talk, one also has to be able to listen, as listening is far more important in such situations than talking. A CNT member can learn much by listening, which will then better their ability to effectively communicate with the person in crisis. Another tool for the CNT is information about the situation, which can be gathered independently, as well as from the person(s) involved. Information is constantly shared between the CNT and SRT teams so better informed decisions can be made.
The FBI maintains statistics on all varieties of Law Enforcement issues, one of which is the use of CNT. The statistics show that CNT situations can take an average of 9 hours to resolve, so patience is another necessary tool.
Currently the CNT is comprised of Communications Operators and Law Enforcement Officers from the Police Department, Sheriff’s Office and VA Hospital. The team also has a member from the mental health profession. Command and control of CNT falls under the Sheridan Police Department Support Services Division Commander.