The Hostage Negotiations Team (HNT) is a specialized unit within the Police Department that is trained to handle communications in crisis and hostage situations. While utilized to handle hostage situations, the HNT is also trained and called upon to communicate with suicidal, armed, and/or barricaded subjects.
The team currently consists of three police officers. All members are specially trained in police negotiations and crisis intervention. The HNT is called upon to communicate with a hostage taker or person in crisis to diffuse the volatile situation.
The HNT’s primary goal in any crisis situation is the preservation of life and the peaceful resolution of the crisis through open communication and negotiation, thereby, minimizing the need for the use of force. In all hostage situations the ultimate goal is the release of all hostages unharmed and the apprehension of the suspect, while maintaining the safety of the general public and officers involved.
During crisis situations, the HNT works under the control of the Scene Commander and also works alongside Patrol Officers, SWAT team members, Bomb Disposal Officers, and/or other specialized units. HNT members are also responsible for gathering and providing intelligence information to field and tactical commanders in case a tactical resolution is necessary.
The Team holds quarterly training sessions, which consist of reviewing past incidents, practicing negotiations, and maintaining the team equipment. Team members also trained with the FBI and the Cleveland Police Department, which involved several mock situations and discussions on numerous topics and techniques.