Awards and Appreciation

Crisis Response Team 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

By Lt. Josh Kiel, Emergency Operations Unit

The CDCR Crisis Response Team (CRT) Negotiations Element attended an International Negotiation Competition held by the Texas State University on Jan. 13-16. The 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 and skills they have learned through training, and applying those skills in a real world scenario. Negotiators are evaluated by their peers in the industry and graded on their knowledge, skills and abilities to resolve a crisis negotiation event. The team evaluation focused on the communication skills, active listening, team functioning, brainstorming, intelligence gathering, and technical issues such as boards and information sharing.

CRT members from California Correctional Institution (CCI), CSP-Los Angeles County (LAC), Kern Valley State Prison (KVSP), and Centinela State Prison (CEN) joined together to compete against some of the top teams in the world. Although the CRT Negotiators who formed the CDCR competition team are from different institutions and areas of California, the team was able to rely on the foundational teachings that are incorporated into the CDCR CRT program.

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, who immediately credited the CDCR CRT team — who were also their trainers.

The Singapore Negotiations team attended the 2012 Negotiation Certification Course run by the CDCR Office of Correctional Safety (OCS), Emergency Operations Unit. Singapore told the members of the CDCR CRT team that the training they received was instrumental in their success in both the competition and their everyday application of negotiations.

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, as they 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; a selfless act of saving lives through a peaceful, non-violent resolution,” said organizers.

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.