Front Row: (left to right) Sgt. Julie Grabofsky, Evidence Technician Chris Stearns, Officer Eric Nevins, and Officer David Argitis.
Back Row; (Left to right) Officer Bill Stratis, Officer Dan Knight, Officer Tim Farris, and Lt. Janine Roberts
The Portland Maine Police Department's Crisis Negotiators Team (CNT) was established as a two-person unit in 1986. In the early 1990's it was expanded to its current size of eight members, including one commander and seven team members. All positions are part-time positions. Members' full time assignments range from Patrol, Detective, Evidence Technician, Senior Lead Officers, and Patrol Sergeant and Lieutenant. Collectively, the Team has over 60 years training and experience in crisis negotiations. On average, the CNT is activated four-to-five times a year.
The CNT trains every month with a typical training day consisting of presentations/discussions on current topics, role plays, and equipment familiarization. Once a year, the team conducts joint role play training with the Special Reaction Team and Hazardous Devices Unit. In addition, we regularly open up our training sessions to other negotiators in the region allowing us to build strong relationships with our internal and external counterparts.
Most of our Team members have a minimum of 7 years experience in crisis negotiations, with two having over 20 years experience. Our Team's cohesiveness has developed throughout the years as we have grown and matured together; working, struggling, succeeding, and learning with, and from, each other along the way.
Throughout the years, CNT members have responded to call outs involving suicidal individuals, domestic crises, high risk search warrants, and barricaded suspects. To date, all incidents have been successfully resolved without further injury to the citizen or officers.
As we look towards the future, the Team plans to continue to improve our negotiations skills with consistent training on modern standards and practice of active listening skills; increase our equipment list with updated technology and safety equipment; further develop strong relationships with area negotiators and other public safety counterparts; and, be leaders within the Crisis Negotiations field throughout the State of Maine.