Detectives and command staff used to assist persons in crisis willing to communicate. In 2001, Sheriff Brad Riley directed establishment of the Crisis Negotiations Unit (CNT). Sheriff Riley saw the need for specially trained officers in this role. CNT members receive training through the NC Justice Academy partnering with the FBI. They also receive annual training from the Central NC Negotiator Network.
The goal of the CNT is to respond to and successfully resolve critical incidents. They use communication to de-escalate high-risk situations. A negotiator’s primary goal is to use active listening to build rapport with an individual in crisis. Once rapport is established, trust is often gained. Individuals may be willing to change their behavior to allow for peaceful resolution. The CNT trains with other specialty teams such as SRT and the Bomb Squad to prepare for any situation. The need for specialized critical incident handling in the detention center was recognized. In 2018, two detention officers were added to the team.