Every hour during the hostage situation in Dale County is crucial, but in order to end this peacefully, negotiators have to be patient.
For those on the outside looking in, we want a quick resolution but the lead negotiator for Albertville Police reminds us that they will take all the time they need to bring this to an end safely.
"I'd want to know if that child is alright. I want to know what their needs are - 'Do you need anything, can we get you some water, can we speak to the child?'" said J.T. Cartee.
It is important to start with basic questions in a crisis.
The hostage situation in Dale County is well into day two with a 65-year-old gunman holding a 6-year-old boy in an underground bunker. However, there have been signs of success; the first being negotiators have been able to communicate with the man through a PVC pipe, and he did allow the child to receive medication. Cartee said that's progress.
"That's a milestone to us for him to allow that medication to come in, so he sees that child as a human being," he said. "Part of your job is keeping that situation from becoming volatile and calm down that individual."
Another part of the job: understanding the offender.
Reports said the gunman is a Vietnam veteran, which negotiators are trained to handle.
True success in a hostage situation is everyone walking out alive, but that doesn't always happen.
Two years ago, Albertville Police were called to a home with a gunman holding two people inside.
Cartee led the negotiation, by which did end with the hostages being released. However, the house caught fire with the gunman inside.
"To this day, it bothers me because it was such a waste. All he had to do was come out," said Cartee.
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