Hostage Survival Probability Model

Date: August 23, 2015

To: Law Enforcement Special Operations Community

From: Hostage Survival Probability Model Research Team

Subject: National Survey of Historical Incidents Involving Hostage Situations

The Justice Academy (, in cooperation with the National Tactical Officers Association ( and the California Association of Tactical Officers ( have joined forces to coordinate and conduct a national study regarding hostage survival rates in order to determine the contributive factors associated with such special operations situations. The Hostage Survival Probability Model project endeavors to isolate, quantify, and prioritize discriminant variables that influence the outcome of such situations and then assemble these contributive factors into primary, secondary, and tertiary levels of influence in order to create a “survivability” equation that can be applied to future hostage situations. Predicated on the findings of the national study of past cases that have occurred, it was the goal of the research team to use the collected information to create a predictive algorithm that can be used by hostage negotiators and special operations units toward minimizing the risk factors associated with direct enforcement actions and thereby enhance the likelihood of a positive outcome of the hostage situation, based on historical analysis.

The results of the study, along with the ancillary information pertinent to data collection and analysis are provided for your use.

With Best Regards,

The Research Team

  • Judge Hal Campbell, Ph.D.,
  • Commander Sid Heal, LASD SEB (Retired)
  • Lieutenant Mike Albanese, OIC LAPD SWAT(Retired)
  • Sgt. Bryan Whoolery, Travis County Tactical Unit, Texas
  • James R. Walker, Ph.D., Houston PD (Retired)
  • Lieutenant John Sullivan, Ph.D., LASD
  • Phil Geisler, LASD – SEB, Master Field Training Officer
  • Lieutenant Commander Rich Lavigne, DHS-USCG
  • Lieutenant Commander Andrew Campbell, DHS-USCG
  • Greg Boggs, Technical Systems Coordinator
  • Jake G. Campbell, ABD, Research Methods Advisor