Edmond Police have just gotten some new gadgets to help them better deal with situations involving bombs and other explosive materials.
Edmond Police say they are called out on bomb-related calls more often than you'd think. Last year they had 51 calls for bombs and explosives, 52 in 2010, and 17 calls this year already. And of the tools the department just added could have come in handy on one of this year.
It was a highly explosive and potentially deadly call, when police were called out after crystallized picric acid was found on the University of Central Oklahoma's campus in January.
"We sent the robot in," Edmond Bomb Squad Commander, Sgt. James Teel said. "Let's say we had a malfunction with it, because these things happen. this would have been a perfect example, if someone suited up, grab a hold of it and carried it out to the ‘frag bag.'"
They also got a new tool called a "Hot Stick", a device that allows officers to safely grasp dangerous devices from a distance, in the event that the robot malfunctions.
Teel says he is happy to have the new tools, but hopes the bomb squad never has to use them.
"If it blows up, I might live, I may lose my fingers, toes or hearing," he said.
The Edmond bomb squad just got the new tools with money left over from a Homeland Security grant, money Teel says is divided up amongst the metro's bomb squads.
Teel says sometimes the explosive danger has been sitting in a family home for years, undetected.
"Grandpa dies, [for instance] he was in World War II and has a lot of Japanese ordinances in the attic. All the sudden the grandchildren all pulling it out saying, ‘What is this?'" said Teel.
Teel says the bomb squad has come a long way in the 20 years he's been with Edmond PD.
"We've literally gone from stone, knives and bear skins to robotics and trucks we can operate out of," he said.
And now if technology like the robot would have malfunctioned in January, Teel says the squad is safer having the new "hot-stick" or "frag bag" to use if they have to.
Teel is also a member of the Oklahoma National Guard. He says, so far, deployments haven't hindered his or other bomb techs ability to respond here stateside.
Edmond's bomb squad was most recently called to Cushing to provide their expertise when President Obama came to Oklahoma.