In the movie, Dog Day Afternoon, there were many things that the police and the FBI did wrong. It seemed as if there was no manual to guide the police officers and the FBI through the hostage situation. Sonny and Sal never really thought about what they would do if they were to get caught.
One of the first mistakes that officer Moretti made was when he called the bank to let Sonny know he was in there. I think that there never would have been a hostage situation if officer Moretti would have let Sonny and Sal think they were going to get away and grab them when they came out the bank. I never knew if someone in the bank hit an alarm or if the insurance man let the police know the bank was getting robbed.
From the beginning, it seemed as if there was no clear picture of who was in charge. The police should have closed off the block farther away from the bank than they did. There was not any crowd control. When Moretti tried to talk to Sonny on the bullhorn, he really could not talk because the crowd was making a lot of noise. If Sonny and Sal had come out of the bank shooting, many people would have been hurt.
I thought that when someone was robbing a bank, the FBI was the ones who were supposed to be in charge. Moretti never let the FBI agent lead the hostage negotiations until late in the movie. When the FBI arrived, they should have taken over the hostage situation as soon as possible.
Another thing that I noticed was that the police officers were running around everywhere. Without any command, they were trying to get through the back door and it caused Sonny to fire a shot. Whenever Sonny walked out of the bank they were pointing their guns at him while Moretti was telling them to get back and put the guns down.
There were never any hostage negotiators at the scene. Moretti did all of the negotiations and the FBI agent did not negotiate anything. The FBI agent and Moretti did the number one thing that should not be done during a hostage negotiation; they both met with sonny face to face on numerous occasions to try to negotiate. You are never supposed to meet with someone when you are negotiating face to face.
The police arrived on the scene never tried to find out how Sonny and Sal got to the bank. They should have run some of the tags of the cars around the bank. If they would have known that the car in front of the bank was the car that Sonny and Sal were planning on getting away in, they could have figured out that it was a third person with them. If they would have found that third person, they would have been able to get much more information on Sonny and Sal.
Whatever Sonny wanted, pizza and sodas, the police gave in. They should have asked Sonny to give them something. They even brought his wife the scene to let Sonny talk to him. I believe that Sonny did not want them to bring his wife down there, but the police tried to go get her to bring to him. They even brought his mother to the bank not knowing if Sonny really hated her or not. It was a very good thing that they did not bring his father to the scene.
The officers never thought about trying to find out more about Sal. They were focusing most of their attention on Sonny. It seemed to me that Sal was the more dangerous out of the two of them. They never asked Sal if he would like to talk to anyone, neither did they try to understand Sal. They should have tried to find out if Sal was married or not. It seemed as if the FBI agent thought that Sonny did not want to rob the bank, but instead he was influenced by Sal. The FBI agent made the remark to Sonny that “don’t worry about Sal, we will take care of him.” The Agent made it look like they just wanted Sal.