Hostage Negotiator Talks Conflict Resolution with Futures Junior Cohort

Hostage Negotiator Talks Conflict Resolution with Futures Junior Cohort

AMHERST, MA – On Thursday, November 1st, Amherst LEADS concluded its fall curriculum with the final event of the semester for the student-athletes. This event was created to highlight the junior cohort curriculum of conflict resolution. The evening was centered around the guest speaker, Jack Cambria, who spoke to the student-athletes about his experiences as an elite hostage negotiator. 

Jack Cambria is a retired member of the New York City Police Department where he worked 33 ½ years. Beginning as a precinct uniform and plainclothes patrol in Brooklyn’s 72ndPrecinct in Sunset Park, Mr. Cambria continued his career as police officer, sergeant, and lieutenant. In addition, Mr. Cambria served on the Emergency Service Unit (ESU) for 16 years whose primary focus is to provide rescue, tactical, and counter-terrorism services to the city of New York. During his time in the ESU, Mr. Cambria responded to many high-profile assignments such as both World Trade Center disasters, plane crashes, and a variety of hostage and barricade situations. In 2001, Mr. Cambria was selected to command the NYPD’s Elite Hostage Negotiation Team, where he responded to well-over 5000 crisis assignments. Mr. Cambria helped advised major motion pictures and TV series such as, “The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3,” “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit,” “Blue Bloods” and “Life on Mars.” 

Listening to Mr. Cambria was a riveting experience. He played on the emotions of the audience to give the student-athletes an experience that was meaningful and engaging. Keeping in mind the curriculum of conflict resolution, Mr. Cambria spoke about hearing vs. listening; the issue with operating on a highly emotional state; relying on your intuitive sense when speaking with others; and responding to confrontation. He spoke about his time in the ESU and gave the student-athletes vivid descriptions of his experiences and takeaways now that he has retired.

In addition to conflict resolution, Mr. Cambria presented tactics to help the student-athletes communicate effectively with others. Some of these tips included:

  • Using the words, “I’m sorry,” as a way to validate what people are feeling and saying.
  • Keeping an open mind during conversations.
  • Do not meet anger with anger.
  • If something is important to someone then demonstrate that it is important. 
  • Avoid using the words, “But,” “Why,” and “Know.”

We were so honored to have Mr. Cambria join us for the last event for the student-athletes of the fall semester!

What’s next for Amherst LEADS?

  • Thursday, November 29thàCommunity Event, “The Changing Landscapes of the Media”