The Crisis Negotiation Unit (CNU) responds to calls alongside the Tactical Negotiations Team (TNT — or SWAT) with the special focus on establishing communication, gathering information, defusing emotions and increasing options in often rapidly evolving situations. CNU works to create peaceful resolutions during volatile situations by establishing ongoing dialogue and rapport with the person or persons in crisis.
Formed in 1981, CNU’s cornerstones are empathy, knowledge, and compassion. The team responds to many callouts throughout Washington County each year. Typical calls may involve a person barricaded in a building to avoid arrest, someone threatening harm to themselves or others, hostage situations, or a wide variety of other crisis events that threaten the safety of the community.
Crisis negotiators work to establish an ongoing dialog and rapport with the person or persons involved in the incident. Team members gather information on the people involved, interview witnesses, compile psychological profiles, develop threat assessments, and analyze intelligence information. Negotiators often use these skills in tandem when deployed with TNT
CNU is an inter-agency team comprised of members from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, officers from the Beaverton, Hillsboro and Tigard police departments, and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). The team relies on mental health consultants who deploy with the team and consult with a certified psychologist. All team members receive specialized training from the FBI and Western States Hostage Negotiators Association. They also attend monthly training events and are proficient in the best practices of their field.
CNU members provide crisis negotiation training to other first responders. By sharing their expertise, law enforcement officers are provided added perspectives to manage crisis incidents more consistently and effectively while on patrol.