You need to think twice about barricading yourself in a house. If you do, you might very well find your world closing in around you.
Even before the suspect surrendered Wednesday morning at 1309 N. Eddy Street, there were police officers in the house with him.
As a five-hour negotiating session evolved with David Driver, Grand Island police officers enclosed the amount of space in which Driver was able to move. In the process of closing off parts of the house, some officers came inside.
Tactically speaking, “we just gradually shrunk the area that he could go in the house,” said Capt. Jim Duering. “So that limits access to weapons and limits the danger to the child.”
Driver is accused of barricading himself inside the house with his three-year-old daughter. He had been inside the house since about 3 a.m.
He surrendered at 9 a.m., when officers went in to get him.
Officers take a couple of things into account in deciding whether to end a standoff. In this case, a negotiations team was on the scene, and police had received indications that “either A, it’s going to escalate or B, we no longer have avenues of negotiation. At some point in time, those resources had exhausted themselves,” Duering said.
Negotiators told the other officers that the process was done. According to Duering, they said, “He’s not negotiating with us. We’re not getting to any solution here.”
As officers had gradually reduced the area in which he could move, “we got him to a place where we felt safe going and getting him without putting the child in danger,” Duering said.
The combination of those two factors “are kind of what led us to that point,” Duering said.
Officers had not been in the house the entire night.
They first “got up into a covered porch,” Duering said. Gradually, “we took away one room and then the next and then the next,” he said.
“Our main concern obviously was the welfare of the child.” Police had to be in a position “where we could kind of see what was going on” and make tactical decisions.
Such cases can sometimes go on for days. “But you really have to worry about the health of the child once you get it that drawn-out,” Duering said.
On Wednesday, police were confident about their placement and where the negotiation process stood. “It worked out, so I guess our people know what they’re doing, and did a good job of it.”
At full strength, the department’s Tactical Response Team has about 14 members. The group is divided into different disciplines, Duering said.
GIPD had “a substantial amount of resources” on the scene, he said. When the suspect surrendered, there were about 20 police officers present.
A news release Wednesday said, in part, “The Grand Island Police Department will continue its stance of zero tolerance for domestic violence and any act which purposefully or negligently endangers any child.”