In an ideal world, no one would need the Guidry Group, an international kidnap and ransom, security services and crisis management company. In the actual world, the Guidry Group has resolved more than 70 kidnappings and 40 extortion cases. Its Crisis Management Team tackles an ever-growing number of global threats and emergencies such as terrorism, state-sponsored violence, cyberattacks and natural disasters.
Q: How did you get involved in kidnap and ransom?
A: My kidnap and ransom training began while I was a state trooper in Texas. I loved negotiating in hostage situations, so I put myself through training, not only in the U.S. but around the world. I continued training while at the international company — and still train today. This helps me stay current with the ways kidnappings and extortions can happen. Methods of payment, items requested for negotiations and more continue to change. My skills have to change with them.
Q: Do you have any special “tricks” to save kidnap victims?
A: Basically, we take over the situation and do the negotiations. I don’t know if I’d call our techniques “tricks.” We try to get into the perpetrators’ minds and determine what they really want. Experience is important, as is learning the “do’s” and “don’ts,” and doing more of the “do’s.” Keeping our clients — not happy, because they won’t be happy — but satisfied, is important.
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.)