The Crisis Negotiations Team was established under the direction of Sheriff Brad Riley in 2001. Prior to the existence of the team, Detectives and Command Staff were commonly used for situations when a person in crisis was willing to communicate. Sheriff Riley saw a need for a specially trained group of officers to handle these types of individuals. CNT members received training through the NC Justice Academy in partnership with the FBI as well as annual training from the Central North Carolina Negotiator’s Network.
The goal of the Crisis Negotiations Team is to respond to and successfully resolve critical incidents using communication to deescalate high risk situations. A negotiator’s primary goal is to build rapport with an individual in crisis through active listening. Once that rapport is established, then trust is often gained, and the individual may be willing to change their behavior in a way that allows for a peaceful resolution. The CNT trains with other specialty teams such as SRT and the Bomb Squad to be prepared for any situation. In 2018, the agency recognized the need to have members that could specialize in handling critical incidents within the detention center and two detention officers were added to the team.