SPF Supports SPD’s Hostage Negotiation Team (HNT)


July 2, 2024

During our fall 2023 grant process, we awarded funding to SPD’s Hostage Negotiation Team (HNT) for needed communications aides, including a hailer (mobile PA) system and a second BRINC Ball throw phone.

These innovative tools are essential to the HNT’s de-escalation work, helping to facilitate productive communication between a person in crisis and SPD negotiators.

HNT works with patrol and SWAT to help provide the highest levels of de-escalation at critical incidents such as hostage takings, barricaded subjects, and people in crisis. This work is done through the use of coordinated tactics, persuasive communication, and specialized equipment. The team works closely with its SWAT partners to help maximize the safety of the public, officers, and the involved parties.

HNT responds to over 150 incidents per year and has an extremely high success rate in helping to resolve incidents and minimize injuries. The team routinely relies on specialized equipment to communicate with subjects and often has to rely on grants to purchase these items.  

A BRINC Ball is a lightweight, durable handheld two-way communication device (essentially a throwable speaker phone), which can be used in tense situations when face-to-face communication would be dangerous. Seattle-based BRINC created the BRINC Ball to be tough! Negotiators can toss the BRINC Ball into the vicinity of the subject in crisis and establish effective two-way communication from positions of safety.

When Chief Negotiator Sergeant James Kim went to purchase the items, he learned that he could get two hailers and the BRINC Ball and still stay mostly within his total grant award, give or take around a $100. Having two hailers in addition to another BRINC Ball creates redundancy in equipment and increases the likelihood of getting key equipment to the scene in a timely manner by allowing for the storage of equipment in different response vehicles. 

We’re grateful to HNT for its vital work to reduce use of force during tense, high-stakes incidents. Thanks to all our loyal donors whose support helps us fill these funding gaps!