The origins of the Washington County Crisis Negotiations Team (WCCNT) can be traced back to 2002. In that year the Hagerstown Police Department was the first agency in Washington County to field two fully trained and certified Hostage/Crisis Negotiators. Although these negotiators were primarily used for incidents within the City of Hagerstown, they slowly found themselves being called to scenes all over Washington County as well. It was quickly understood that there was a clear need for a larger joint City/County team.
As the result of an agreement between the Hagerstown Police Department and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, the WCCNT today consists of ten fully trained and certified Crisis Negotiators. The officers and deputies bring a multitude of backgrounds and experiences with them to the team, and all have much to offer to the community. The team serves all areas and jurisdictions within Washington County and is provided with additional support from the HPD Auxiliary Police unit.
The mission of the WCCNT is to peacefully resolve emergency situations through the use of specialized communications. Generally, these are situations in which the public and officers would be put at great risk to otherwise resolve due to their highly-charged nature. Successful negotiations will result in no harm to anyone involved. And because the team members are not tactical officers, they often rely on the Special Response Team to provide them with safety and security in situations which require being extremely close to a particular scene.
All members of the WCCNT are volunteers and highly motivated individuals. The training to become a Certified Negotiator is very specialized as well as intense, and not everyone makes it through the process. In addition, all members participate in multiple training sessions throughout the year with other teams in the state as well as the FBI.