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Book Review: Crisis Negotiations: Managing Critical Incidents and Hostage Situations in Law Enforcement and Corrections

By Michael J. McMains, Wayman C. Mullins, & Andrew T. Young, Routledge; 602 pages; $64.95.

0721-ASISNews-BookReview-Crisis-Negotiations-Managing-Critical-Incidents.jpgThis book represents a comprehensive treatise of the discipline of crisis negotiations. It is well-suited to serve as a textbook in a college or university course.

Each chapter includes thought-provoking discussion questions and access to support materials including slide presentations and test banks.

More importantly, it is essential reading for practitioners in crisis negotiations. The book includes a thorough history and development of the discipline, negotiation techniques, risk assessment, and crisis management guidelines. It also addresses negotiation techniques for various special populations, such as emotionally disturbed or mentally ill people, juveniles, the elderly, combat veterans, and law enforcement.

All three authors are not only university professors, but also have extensive field experience in crisis negotiations. It is clear through their writing that they not only have the academic knowledge, but also practical field experience in the discipline.

Other suggested uses of the textbook by practitioners would be as a reference guide in the field during negotiations, initial training of newly assigned negotiators, and as a source for ongoing training for all assigned negotiators.

The authors have interjected numerous case studies and negotiator profiles throughout the text. These elements provide additional valuable learning opportunities for the student and practitioner. They bring the principles of negotiation to life for the reader.

The content of Crisis Negotiations is well-organized and easy to read. The book clearly illustrates that the discipline has evolved since its inception about 50 years ago. It is a highly recommended resource for any student or practitioner of crisis negotiations.

Reviewer: Dennis Eberly, MS, LPI (Licensed Private Investigator), is the owner of On Target Investigation & Consulting, LLC. He retired as a police lieutenant from the East Hempfield Township Police Department in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, after 33 years of service. Eberly also served as a Negotiation Unit Supervisor for the Lancaster County Special Emergency Response Team (SERT). He has held criminal justice faculty positions at several institutions over the past three decades.