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"Talk to Me" - The NYPD Communication Campaign

by Jeff Thompson
October 2016

Crisis Negotiator Blog by Jeff Thompson

Jeff Thompson

Members of the NYPD engage people in crisis situations on a daily basis where the men and women of the Department continually use crisis communication skills and tactics to resolve these incidents in a peaceful manner. For the month of September and October the NYPD is promoting the use of these skills through a social media campaign that will also be promoting awareness of mental health illnesses and how help is available.

The NYPD reached more than 220 million people on social media last year and see this as an opportunity to raise awareness of effective skills that can help people as well as services that are available. They NYPD encourages everyone to help raise awareness of suicide, mental illness and how it is easy to help someone- you don't have to be an expert.

The first step can be as simple as engaging a person in conversation and encouraging them to talk to you. That is what "Talk To Me” means- starting a conversation with someone who might be in need of help. You can help by using the hashtag #TalkToMe on social media, following us on Twitter at @TalkToMe, sharing our content that is posted on the channels listed below, raising awareness by posting on your social media, and finally by checking in with someone that might need help.

Why "Talk To Me"?

Members of the NYPD’s elite Hostage Negotiation Team (HNT) and Emergency Services Unit (ESU) respond to crisis situations and utilize active listening skills, techniques that demonstrate empathy, build rapport, and slow the situation down. The NYPD’s HNT was the first ever team created in the country in 1975 and uses the “Talk To Me” motto to demonstrate how active listening and encouraging a person to talk is effective in achieving a peaceful resolution.  Members of ESU respond to thousands of crisis calls a year. By working together as a team, ESU is able to bring about peaceful ends to a variety of crisis situations. Recently the NYPD adapted the HNT and ESU training and modified it for the patrol setting in their Crisis Intervention Team training to ensure patrol officers have these skills for their encounters with people in crisis.

Biography


Jeff Thompson, Ph.D., is a professor at Lipscomb University, researcher, mediator, and trainer. He is also involved in crisis and hostage negotiation as well as a law enforcement detective. His research includes law enforcement crisis and hostage negotiation in terrorist incidents. He received his doctorate from Griffith University Law School having researched the impact nonverbal communication has in conflict situations with respect to developing rapport, building trust, and displaying professionalism.

Dr. Thompson has presented and trained on the topic of conflict, mediation, (crisis and hostage) negotiation, communication and nonverbal communication internationally for a variety of audiences including police personnel, government officials, judges, attorneys, physicians, sales people, business professionals, and both graduate and undergraduate students. He has also been published in numerous professional and academic publications.

He is the co-chair of ACR's national Crisis Negotiation Section, and he is an ad-hoc reviewer for multiple academic journals. He received his MS in Negotiation and Dispute Resolution from the Werner Institute, Creighton University School of Law.

(All posts by Jeff Thompson represent his personal reflections and opinions and not that of any organization.)



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