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Only on NBC5 News: Inside the OSP Explosives Unit

White City, Ore. — Whether its disposing of commercial explosives or investigating a suspicious package, when there’s a potentially dangerous device the Oregon State Police Explosives Unit is called. NBC5 News recently got a rare look at the tools and training our state’s bomb techs use every day.

From antique explosives, to suspicious packages. Being a bomb technician is a 24/7/365 kind of job.

“It’s not uncommon to be taken away from a dinner or a family event,” Sgt. Kevin Del Grande says, “it just happens, and we never know when it’s going to happen.”

Sergeant Kevin Del Grande has been with the Oregon State Police Explosives Unit for 7 years. He’s one of only 35 bomb techs in the state trained and accredited by the FBI.

“Our job out there, is to go out there and render all this stuff safe, so it’s not a public safety risk.”

In 2015, the explosives unit was activated 325 times, and, it’s no mistake when they’re called.

“Roughly in about 75% of the calls actually involve explosive or energetic materials.”

The work can be dangerous, but that’s where their tools and training come in. Bomb techs use 2 different robots, equipped with cameras and cannons.

“The large robots that we have, have 5 different cameras on it, a large telescoping camera on it and then out on the arm itself its got an additional camera, and those 2 cameras will actually rotate and they’ll zoom in even from a distance if we need to,” Detective Brett Keller says.

Bomb techs then use consoles to operate the robots remotely.

“It’ll actually give us an actual degrees and a distance that we are from the package so that way we’re taking the correct shot from  the correct distance that we need to to disrupt it,” Det. Keller says.

In total the state has 9 robots distributed between 3 regions, and they are brought to every scene.

“Our goal in most calls is to try and use the robots,” Sgt. Del Grande says, but when they can’t, “we use a person and a suit.”

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