Psychology Essay


In the following scenario, students will analyze the dynamics of a crisis/hostage situation. Students will write a paper with a minimum of six written pages of text (not to include the cover or reference pages), using APA format and students must include at least two credible academic sources in their paper in addition to assigned class text to complete this assignment.

Scenario: You are a police psychologist for a major metropolitan area. You are also a member of its hostage negotiation team. You have been called to a crisis incident at 3:15 p.m. on a Friday. It is in a residential area about three blocks from a middle school and a public library. The information you have at this time is that the subject is a 42-year-old male who is holed up in his house with his wife, son, and a family friend. He has murdered his next-door neighbor and is threatening to kill those in the house if his demands are not met. One of his demands is for immunity from the murder charge if he surrenders without harming any of the people in the house. His other demands are a case of beer and some fast food soon. He wants his demands met or “something will happen.”

Your paper must address the following topics:

  • Explain the type of incident, which category this hostage-taker falls into, and what your optimal role is in the situation.
  • Include in your paper statistical information around the likelihood of a successful hostage negotiation given the information provided and the length of time that the situation persists. For example, after a one hour standoff, what is the likelihood (in percentages) that the negotiation will end successfully? After four hours? After eight hours? How does the likelihood of a successful negotiation change over the course of time?
  • Based on your knowledge, develop a plan and a course of action for interacting with this person and resolving this situation. What precautions will you and the department take? What tertiary problems do you foresee in the case of a prolonged standoff and how would you address them? What sources would you use to gather information about the perpetrator? What specific information would you want to have? Support your plan with the data and statistics of the likelihood (percentages) of a successful hostage negotiation.
  • Even though you have only minimal information (which is the reality in most crisis situations), identify a probable hypothesis about the perpetrator’s mental state, symptom presentation, and the likely outcome of the incident.
  • To be better prepared in the case of another crisis situation, analyze the roles a police psychologist should play in preparation for crisis incidents and how it would benefit the department. Identify what needs to occur before the psychologist can become an integral part of the hostage negotiation team.

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