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CNN BREAKING NEWS

SWAT Team Has Mail Truck Surrounded

Aired January 31, 2003 - 13:54   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: And now, as you can see, SWAT team has that car well surrounded after punctured the tires of that vehicle, attempting to establish communication with the people inside.
With us on the line right now is our law enforcement expert Mike Brooks.

Mike, what's going on right now? You were a hostage negotiator. You know how this goes down.

MIKE BROOKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Miles.

The most important time after they have the vehicle stopped is the first hour. They try to establish negotiations, try to bring the emotional level of the person who is taken a hostage, try to bring that down to a level where negotiators can reason with the person inside, try to find out exactly what brought them to this particular situation.

O'BRIEN: So, Mike, what you're saying is time is on the side of the authorities at this point, and it works to their favor to sort of not force any sort of sudden action.

BROOKS: No, and law enforcement will not force any action at all. They will take our time. They will talk to the person inside, or at least attempt to talk to the person inside. In a situation like this, it's fairly difficult. They'll try to get in touch with the person either by bullhorn or by a public address system in one of the cruisers, or they try to maybe get a phone to the person inside, and then it makes it a little more personal in trying to find out exactly, you know, what is the mental status of the person, what brought them to this situation, you know, what kind of emotions are they going through at this particular time, and try to work with the release of the person that they're holding inside of the truck.

O'BRIEN: You know, it's interesting, just a little word on the tactics and strategy and how that has changed with the implementation of new technology over the years, these strips which actually punch out the tires, obviously, lead to much safer conclusions to these, and I know that in the past, we've seen some in the past where they have sprayed this sticky foam inside the vehicles to try to end it peacefully. Do those things have to be employed today?

BROOKS: There's a lot of different things they can do. If they can get the person to come out, put their hands up peacefully, that's what they'll try to do. If they feel that negotiators aren't working, and I'm talking now, probably hours down the road, that they'll try to talk to this person. They are not trying to rush it. They are not trying to push the situation at all. If they decide that the situation is going, well, they'll continue talking with the person. If they decide not, well, then there's a number of other tactical resolutions that they can employ, and one of those is a foam that also has pepper spray and other things inside of it to incapacitate the person inside so they can take that person into custody.

But we're talking about, that's way down the road, Miles. We're talking right now about them trying to make some kind of contact with that person. We see someone on top of the SRT truck right now. Mostly likely, there are folks trying to look inside of the vehicle. You have sniper observer teams up there, trying to -- and they are some of your best intelligence that you can have on the scene.

They can let the negotiators and you'll let the tactical commander know exactly what's going on inside of the truck, and maybe one of those people on top could be a negotiator, too, trying to make contact. That might be the only way that they could make contact with that person inside the vehicle.

O'BRIEN: Real quick, we're just about out of time, Mike, but do they have the capability perhaps of listening in on conversations in that truck right now?

BROOKS: It's difficult. As you know, we in the media have the different kind of microphones that can extend a long distance, they also probably have the same kind of thing, but the biggest thing is to develop, try to develop a rapport with the person inside the truck and bring this to a peaceful conclusions.

O'BRIEN: Mike Brooks, we're going to leave it at that. Stay close, please. We'll be watching this very closely for you.

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