"If we have to, then every other measure failed," he said.
The longer police talk to a hostage taker, the more likely he or she will have time to think their actions through and come to their senses. Developing a line of communication with the hostage taker is critical in ensuring the safety of the hostage and the team, he said.
However, once the decision is made to assault, their actions are immediate with little time to deliberate.
They practiced the exercise in various rooms of the school many times before adjourning. Each time, their actions were evaluated to determine if they needed to work on any technique such as approach or the element of surprise.
The team was instructed by four of the members who recently completed an advanced hostage class. They held a two-day training exercise for a total of 16 hours at the school.
The West Virginia Special Response Team formed in 1995 with four branch teams in the northern, eastern, central and southern parts of the state. In all, 28 members make up the state team, including 17 snipers.
Oglesby said it was important for the team to practice in places such as an elementary school because hostage situations can happen in unknown places in which they are not familiar.
"Today we are at an old, abandoned elementary school, which is a perfect venue for us," he said. "We have not been here before. ... That gives us fresh perspective on what we may encounter in the real world."
Reach Travis Crum at travis.c...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5100.