NORMAN, Oklahoma - More than 50 bomb technicians and investigators from eight states are in Norman this week for the Bomb Technician and Investigators Conference. They’re getting training, sharing techniques, and seeing all the latest bomb squad gear.

There are six bomb squads in the State of Oklahoma, including in Oklahoma City and Norman. Conferences like this are helpful to the teams.

“They brought out some of the newest, greatest equipment,” said Lieutenant Clay Bolin with the Norman Police Department. A variety of tools are displayed by vendors, including robots, shock tubes, x-ray machines, drones and more.

Lt. Bolin says technology has changed dramatically over time and it is still improving. What used to be done by hand can now be done at a safe distance away from the suspicious package to keep the bomb squad technicians safe.

He is reminded of bombings in Oklahoma history. “We had a bombing incident just outside the university football stadium 11 years ago this month. Of course, everyone remember April 19th of ’95, so we’ve had some major incidents in the state.” It’s all the more reason to equip local bomb squads with the most accurate and safe gear.

Eric Clements with QSA Global is a vendor at the conference this week. He is also a retired bomb technician with the Army. “Any time  you are able to help them do something remotely, it lessens the chance of them doing something manually that they have to be down in harms way,” Clements said. Through training and new tools, he hopes it can save the lives of those who keep the public safe.

Bomb squad equipment can be very expensive. For many agencies,  majority of the funds come from federal grants.

The conference continues through Thursday at the Norman Investigations Center.