Storms possible this weekend

Oklahoma Department of Corrections Crisis Negotiation Team earns national honor at Texas competition

OKLAHOMA CITY – Nine members of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections’ Crisis Negotiation Team (CNT) took fifth place in a recent competition pitting law enforcement and corrections teams against each other in a hostage scenario to test their skills.

“It’s one of those things that we want to prepare and be ready for, but we hope we never need it,” said Amandia Callen, an ODOC Administrative Review Specialist and the agency’s team captain.

ODOC was one of 28 teams to compete in the training that was held January 8-11 at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas.

ODOC’s Crisis Negotiation Team poses for a photo with their trophy from an annual competition held last month at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. The team placed fifth overall out of 28, but was the highest correctional team to place in the competition.

Callen’s group went against teams from the California Department of Corrections, San Antonio Federal Bureau of Investigations, Austin Police Department, Dallas Police Department, Denton County Sheriff’s Office, Lubbock Police Department, Sheriff’s officers from Colorado and Washington, and a team from Singapore.

The team’s scenario involved a drug cartel that had broken two inmates out of prison before taking women and children hostage at a nearby orphanage.

ODOC staff talked with hostage takers, and then worked out a plan to resolve the situation successfully without violence or injury.

Judges commended the team members for their cooperation, preparedness, professionalism, and ability to brainstorm.

“It takes a rare individual to respond correctly in a life-or-death crisis situation,” said ODOC Director Joe M. Allbaugh.

ODOC was the only corrections team to place in the competition.

Other events covered negotiations with kidnappers demanding ransoms, as well as individuals suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

For more information about ODOC training and other opportunities, click here.