Awards and Appreciation

CRT takes second at Texas competition

Men in matching shirts hold a second-place trophy.
CDCR's CRT Negotiators are, from left, Gildardo Guevara (LAC), Dana Mortimer (CEN), Mario Beltran (CCI), Joseph Cisneros (CCI), Richard Uribe (CCI), Joseph Kohler (KVSP) and Frank Andreotti (CCI).

CDCR Negotiators came from four prisons

The CDCR Crisis Response Team (CRT) Negotiations Element attended an International Negotiation Competition held by Texas State University. The Jan. 13-16 competition featured 40 teams from around the world. Teams from Texas, Oklahoma, California, Singapore, Canada and Scotland came together, emphasizing team cohesiveness and team performance.

Negotiators were evaluated on:

  • their team functionality
  • skills they have learned through training
  • applying those skills in a real world scenario.

Negotiators are evaluated by industry peers, grading their knowledge, skills and abilities to resolve a crisis negotiation.

The team evaluation focused on the communication skills, active listening, team functioning, brainstorming, intelligence gathering, and technical issues such as boards and information sharing.

Those from California combined their talents to compete against some of the top teams in the world.

California competitors came from different areas

CRT competitors came from:

  • California Correctional Institution (CCI)
  • CSP-Los Angeles County (LAC)
  • Kern Valley State Prison (KVSP)
  • and Centinela State Prison (CEN).

Although the CDCR team members hailed from different institutions and areas, they relied on the core training of their CRT programs.

At the conclusion of the competition, an awards banquet was held to announce the winners. The CDCR CRT was awarded second place, falling short of a perfect score by one point.

During the awards ceremony, the first place trophy was awarded to Singapore. Those winners immediately credited the CDCR CRT team — who were also their trainers.

Winning team was trained by CDCR CRT program

Eight years earlier, the Singapore team attended the 2012 CDCR Negotiation Certification Course. This comprehensive course is run by the CDCR Office of Correctional Safety (OCS), Emergency Operations Unit.

Singapore members said the training they received was instrumental in winning the competition, as well as helping them at work.

CRT Negotiators attend a rigorous 12-day certification academy, which includes the foundational values of hostage negotiations, as well as strenuous practical applications.

The CDCR CRT Negotiators who attended the competition did so on their own time and at their own expense. They were able to utilize the techniques instilled in them through the CRT program.

“They should be commended for their hard work and dedication to the CRT program and their institutions. Teams displayed professionalism in their representation of the department on an international level. The countless hours of training and time away from their families, and their commitment to training other law enforcement agencies and international negotiation programs, shows what the CRT program is all about — saving lives through a peaceful, non-violent resolution,” said organizers.

By Lt. Josh Kiel, Emergency Operations Unit

Men and women pose for a photo with their team trophies.
The CDCR CRT team and the Singapore Negotiations team took the top two spots in the Texas State University Negotiation Competition.

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