New York, NY - NYPD's Top Hostage Negotiator Retires After 33 Years; Says "Knowing Failure" Most Important Key To Success
New York, NY - After over 33 years on the force, Lt. Jack Cambria is retiring on Friday, bringing to an end a career that has made him not only the longest-running head of the NYPD’s high-profile hostage negotiating team, but one that has earned him the nickname of “Gentleman Jack” from his colleagues due to the compassion and empathy he has displayed towards crisis-stricken residents of the city he served.
WSJ.com (http://on.wsj.com/1Vhx7uP) reports that Lt. Cambria began his career walking a beat out of the 72nd Precinct in Sunset Park, but it was his success in coaxing peaceful surrenders while serving in the NYPD’s Emergency Service Unit that caught the eye of hostage negotiating team higher-ups.
Cambria signed on as the team’s fifth commanding officer mere weeks before 9/11, and since then has personally responded to about half of the approximately 450 annual situations that require the team’s involvement.
Stuart Kirschner, a retired John Jay College of Criminal Justice psychology professor who co-founded the unit and trained Cambria, praised the 60 year-old for having the ability to “tap into” the “experience” of those is crisis.
“He puts psychologists to shame with what he does,” Kirschner said.
As for Lt. Cambria, he said “managing the emotion” level is the key to success, and that the most effective negotiators are those who “experience the emotion of love at one point in their life, to know what it means to have been hurt in love at one point in their life, to know success and perhaps, most important, to know what it means to know failure.”
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