The Coordinator: Managing High-Risk, High-Consequence Social Interactions in an Unfamiliar Environment



How should a law enforcement officer manage an encounter with someone who might be mentally unstable or in crisis—but does not appear to pose an immediate threat? How might a platoon commander engage with a foreign civilian who has key information for an intelligence-gathering mission, but is wary of sharing—maybe even being seen—with a stranger? In both cases, how does that officer remain prepared for something going terribly wrong at any moment, while still maintaining the intention and ability to help? What common skills do these scenarios—and many others like them—require? In The Coordinator, Ellis Amdur and Robert Hubal share their decades of experience working with law enforcement and military personnel in training and assessing social interaction skills, particularly in ‘high risk, high consequence’ situations. Amdur and Hubal are pioneers who, along with their many professional colleagues, have used both advanced technologies and creative methodologies to improve officers’ and warfighters’ skills. This book synthesizes their work into several broad themes: • Specific learning objectives that students and instructors can use in their training. • Ways of communicating that both research and experience have shown are most reliable in establishing respect and rapport with others, even those from very different cultures or environments. • Core elements and concepts that should be consistently stressed by instructors and practiced by students. • Maintaining an effective stance and self-control throughout the interaction, no matter how difficult it is. • Key techniques for ensuring that the dialog goes smoothly, and ways to recover when it goes sideways. The Coordinator is someone who is always trying to reach an accord with the other person, striving to establish community liaison, rapport, crisis management, and de- escalation of aggression. The Coordinator maintains a focus on tactics, doing everything possible to enhance the safety of all people involved in the encounter. Simultaneously, the Coordinator strives to achieve a level of trust, engaging others with professionalism and respect. The Coordinator crafts the communication to form a working relationship to share in achieving the aims of the mission. This book is dedicated to students at all stages and levels in law enforcement and the military who are, as current trends continue, going to be placed into more and more situations where their Coordinator skills will be absolutely critical to the other person’s survival—and their own.

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About the Author

Ellis Amdur
Ellis Amdur received his B.A. in psychology from Yale University and his M.A. in psychology from Seattle University. He is both a National Certified Counselor and a State Certified Child Mental Health Specialist. Amdur has trained in various martial arts systems for the past fifty years, spending thirteen of these years studying in Japan. He is a recognized expert in classical and modern Japanese martial tradi- tions and has authored three iconoclastic books on the subject, as well as one instructional DVD. Since his return to the U.S. in 1988, Amdur has worked in the field of crisis intervention as a pioneering instructor for law enforcement. He is a dynamic public speaker and trainer who presents to people working in a variety of professions throughout the United States and internationally. He is not- ed for his sometimes outrageous humor, as well as his profound breadth of knowledge. His vivid descriptions of aggressive and mentally ill people and his true-to-life role-playing of the behaviors in question give participants an almost first-hand experience of facing the real patients in question. In his latest venture Amdur as co-founded Gulla Amdur Associates, along with re- nowned firearms, defensive tactics and CIT expert, ret. Sgt. Don Gulla. They have developed a range of trainings that combine verbal de-escalation with a full spectrum of higher force options, the epitome of Coordinator skills. In addition, Amdur has developed a range of consultation services, as well as a unique style of assessment and psychotherapy. Amdur’s professional philosophy can best be summed up as: The development of an individual’s integrity and dignity is the paramount virtue. This can only occur when peo- ple live courageously, regardless of the circumstances, and take responsibility for their roles in making the changes they desire. He has authored and co- authored a number of books on the de-escalation of aggression, specific to those in various professions.

Robert Hubal, a cognitive scientist, has research interests in a number of areas that focus on the intelligent use of technology to better train and assess complex knowledge and skills. He has extensive experience in developing situated training and assessment systems in one area in particular, technology assisted learning. In another, healthcare simulation, he has developed various applications focused specifically on medical and clinical settings. In a third, intelligent virtual humans, he has developed behavioral software that enables virtual humans to act and behave realisti- cally in controlled learning contexts. He has investigated models of cultural daily activities and patterns of life for the portrayal of activity within game- based environments.
In his work at RTI International, Soar Technology, and now the Univer- sity of North Carolina, Hubal has applied research results to such everyday and specialized domains as medical informed consent, clinical assessment of social and interpersonal skills, consumer decision making, vigilance in security and intelligence, law enforcement interactions, and warfighter/ci- vilian sociocultural engagement. He holds an S.B. in computer science and engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an M.S. in com- puter science from North Carolina State University, and a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from Duke University.

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