Texas State Univ Hosts Annual Police Negotiator Conference, Training

by Morgan Montalvo

WOAI News

Police  crisis negotiators from across the U.S. and abroad are in San Marcos  this week for an annual conference that combines classroom instruction  with  reality-based competition, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports. 

Texas State University is hosting the 29th Annual Hostage Negotiation Training and Competition,  says Texas State criminal justice professor and event organizer Prof. Wayman Mullins. 

“We  have teams from Singapore, we have people from Germany, Scotland,”  Mullins says. “We bring in negotiating teams, we put on a standardized  exercise  for them to negotiate, we bring in experts of the field to assess their  performance. 

“What we’re trying to do is enhance their skill level,” Mullins says. 

About 350 experienced negotiators and trainees are taking part in this year’s activities, Mullins says. Among  the foreign officers attending the four-day event is Capt. Matthias  Proehl, a police negotiator, researcher and presenter from the German  state  of Baden-Wurttemberg. 

Proehl says, just as in the U.S., the majority of  standoffs that call for a negotiator involve suicidal persons or  someone who has barricaded him- or herself inside a building to avoid  arrest or other contact with authorities. 

“We  only have really a few and rare occasions where we are dealing with a  hostage,” says Proehl, “or only one percent, we’re talking about  terrorism.”   

Mullins says  even in the U.S., with its far more liberal gun laws, most situations  that require a negotiator are resolved without violence, unlike  Hollywood's shootout-and-explosion depictions of standoffs  and hostage-taking.

PHOTO: Dennis Smith, center, a sales  representative with AgileMesh Corp., discusses his company's line of  video surveillance equipment with attendees of this week's 29th Annual  Hostage Negotiation Training and Competition conference, hosted  by Texas State University in San Marcos. Photo by Morgan Montalvo

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