PALMER PARK, Md.(WUSA) -- Twenty-four year Prince George's County Police Department veteran Sgt. Bill Gleason watched with interest the nearly week-long hostage negotiation that ended Monday in Alabama.
The standoff ended when FBI agents raided an underground bunker and rescuing five-year-old Ethan who had been kidnapped from a school bus last Tuesday. Gleason is a team leader of the department's conflict management team.
"It sounds like he was a survivalist and he got himself in a fortified location and he had a hostage, which ups the ante, which makes it very difficult for us to deal with," Sgt. Gleason said. "But it sounds like they did a good job."
The ordeal lasted seven days. During that time officials spoke with the abductor and where able to provide any items the child needed.
"It sounds like negotiations deteriorated over the last 24 hours and caused them to have to escalate to a tactical resolution, but they got the kid out, which is ultimately our goal, the safe release of the hostage. We like to have everybody make it out safely but sometimes that is out of our control," he said.
Jimmy Lee Dykes, 65, is believed to have climbed aboard a school bus on Jan. 29, shot and killed the school bus driver who tried to stop him, and captured a five-year-old boy whom he then took to a 24-square-foot underground bunker.
Dykes held him hostage until FBI agents raided the location, freeing the boy Monday afternoon. The kidnapper was killed, although authorities will not say how.
Gleason says Prince George's County prepares for even unlikely scenarios like a hostage being held underground.
"It would be incredibly difficult but I know I can speak for our department, our special operations division, our emergency services team, trains in this frequently, just for this," Sgt. Gleason said. "The better prepared they are, the better they're going to perform when called upon so. They do train and they do a very good job with it."
So when after a days-long negotiation, do you decide to go in?
"That's up to the command staff to listen to the negotiations. Obviously, we have mental health professionals who would be listening and say 'do you think this guy is capable of rational thoughts? Do you think it's to the point where you think he is going to do harm to the hostage' or things like that. So, it's based on a lot of intelligence that they are getting," Gleason said.
He said that when officials believe harm will be done to the hostage they proceed as seen fit.
"When we feel we can't communicate with the abductor anymore, at that point our guys are trained professionally, trained to go in there and try to resolve it and try to save lives but, especially, save the life of the hostage," he said.