I wasn't there, so I wont comment on this particular incident.
But as to communication:
Communication is available I don't care where you are.
RMI's (Remote Mobile Investigators) or otherwise known as Bomb Robots have a means to communicate with the bandit and the police without exposing anyone to danger.
The Bomb Squad robots have a speaker and microphone attached. You can be, lets say 200 feet away under cover and have a conversation with the bandit.
I was the senior Tec for our bomb squad and was responsible for maintaince on our RMI. We did a lot of work with SWAT and Hostage Neg. in using the robot for communication, plus for delivering food and water without any one being put in danger.
The RMI can also be equipped with weapons in case things go south.