Harvey Schlossberg, Cop With a Ph.D. in Defusing a Crisis, Dies at 85

A psychologist who had worn the blue, he coached thousands of New York City police officers in hostage negotiations, creating a model for law enforcement.


Harvey Schlossberg, a former New York City traffic cop with a doctorate in psychology who choreographed what became a model law enforcement strategy for safely ending standoffs with hostage takers, died on May 21 in Brooklyn. He was 85.


His death, at a hospital, was caused by cardiopulmonary arrest, said his wife, Dr. Antoinette Collarini Schlossberg.


The need for a standard protocol for hostage situations became more pressing in 1971 after the botched rescue of guards during the Attica prison riots in upstate New York. The next year, captives were taken in a Brooklyn bank robbery (the inspiration behind the 1975 Al Pacino film “Dog Day Afternoon”) and Israeli athletes were seized and massacred by Palestinian terrorists at the Munich Olympics.


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