The hostage negotiations and police attempts to achieve the release of a five-year-old boy have entered Day 5 in Midland City, Alabama. In an Alabama bunker under property owned by the hostage-taker and alleged murderer of a school bus driver----is Jimmy Lee Dykes, 65-years-old, a retired truck driver. Dykes, described as a survivalist akin to the popular new series cast on National Geographic's Doomsday Preppers, was scheduled to appear in Court this past Wednesday to stand before a judge regarding alleged charges of menacing his neighbors. He did not attend.
Instead, Dykes allegedly opted to shoot and kill school bus driver, Charles Albert Poland, 66, who is being revered as a hero for his actions on the bus, shielding its school-age children from harm by Dykes. Dykes boarded Poland's school bus loaded with children, and demanded two boys between ages 6-8; Poland resisted Dykes's commands. When Poland positioned himself to ward-off Dykes's threateningly-tangible advances, in efforts to place himslef as a barrier between Dykes and all the children, he was shot several times by Dykes.
Before he retired, Poland worked as an auto mechanic. Poland served his country valiantly as a soldier with the U.S. Army in Germany and Korea, where his MOS was as a mechanic. He also flew helicopters during the latter part of his military career, said Poland's sister, Patti Hook.
Several years ago he commenced driving a school bus for the school district--along with his wife, who served the school district as a substitute teacher--in order to supplement their household income, Hook intimated.
Somewhat reminiscent of the Sandy Hook shooting, the children unfortunately bore witness to this horrific incident allegedly perpetrated by Dykes.
The school bus confrontation between Dykes and Poland ended in Poland being fatally shot. No one knew what was about to ensue.
No other children were reportedly injured.
Dykes, after slaying Poland, kidnapped a five-year-old boy from the bus and proceeded to his nearby property and once upon his land, decended down the bored-away channeling to an underground survivalist-type bunker where he and the kidnapped boy remained.
For several days, police hostage negotiators from local- and federal-level law enforcement agencies continued to consult with Dykes via a 4-inch-in-circumference 60-foot long PVC pipe--ascending from the underground bunker to the property's surface area.
Dykes's 5-year-old hostage is reportedly reliant on medical prescriptions. The aforementioned mode of communication--through the PVC piping--also served as a conduit through which police were able to have decended the young boy's prescriptions. As well, police slid down age-appropriate materials for the boy, such as crayons and coloring books.
All persistent negotiations have relied upon the communications afforded by the PVC conduit.
The hostage, diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, remained supposedly unharmed to this point. Law enforcement officials have concentrated on this extraordinary aspect regarding the young boy.
Asperger's Syndrome, considered the high-functioning polarity on the autism spectrum disorder (ASD) scale, entails what is known as Pervasive Development Disorder (PDD). This disorder on the autism spectrum encompasses troubles with socialization, diminished imagination, and communication issues. Most individuals with Asperger's, however, function highly with age and often meet success with integration in society.
Nothwithstanding the ostensible abilities of those affected with Asperger's, a young child such as the boy held hostage by Dykes is highly-likely reeling with confusion and extremely-high anxiety. These affect traits may contrast with the due diligence and required patience in efforts to meet an amicable, non-violent end. Mutual sensitivities, indeed.
Dale County Sheriff Wally Olson during a briefing Saturday with reporters explained that Dykes informed negotiators that he is equipped with blankets an electric heater, TV and enough food/water in the bunker. Sheriff Olson reportedly extended his gratitude to Dykes for taking care of the young boy he has hostage.
FBI hostage negotiators' skills entail a delicate balance as to discussions with a hostage-taker, especially when it involves a child, such as this case.
Agents "have to pass a rigorous National Crisis Negotiation Course, held a few times a year at the FBI Academy in Virginia, to become negotiators. The course puts students in real-life scenarios and tests their mettle, because there are no second chances when called to help", according to the FBI Crisis Negotiators homepage. "The training focused on active listening skills, abnormal psychology, and fundamentals of crisis negotiations", the FBI homepage content explained.
"We also work with local law enforcement negotiators on hostage, barricade, suicide, and kidnapping matters", per FBI Negotiator Homepage descriptions. The FBIs Crisis Negotiations Unit (CNU) is available nationally, to any bonafide law enforcement agency in the states as well as international governments. Initial FBI agent training lasts 20 weeks and takes place at the Quantico, VA training academy; specialized unit training, such as that required to be a CNU agent, varies depending on the course topic matter.
Nothwithstanding any degree of specialized training such as that required to be effective in hostage negotiations, the brand of sensitivity necessitated by the standoff in Alabama exemplifies patience as paramount in consideration of a non-violent outcome.
However the idiosyncracies of Dykes may instill peril, skilled negotiators handle these incidents with kid gloves, not to give in to the bad guy, but to carefully disect the dynamics of such an event, and devolve the suspect's mindset and defray utilization of his accoutrements of destruction.
All eyes are on Midland City, AL and the highly-trained, thoroughly-skilled law enforcement officials centered in complex and delicate hostage negotiating until peaceful ends are achieved.
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