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.”
Executive Producer Kristin Hosfelt anchors NBC5 News weeknights at 5 and 6. Originally from the Bay Area, Kristin earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Broadcast Journalism from San Jose State University.
She came to KOBI-TV/NBC5 from Bangor, Maine where she was the evening news anchor. Kristin has won multiple journalism awards including Best Feature Reporting in the State of Maine. In 2017, her investigation on lead pipes in Medford’s water system was named Best News Series by the Oregon Association of Broadcasters.
When Kristin is not sharing the news, she’s traveling, hunting down the best burrito, or buried in a Jodi Picoult novel. She’s also a Green Bay Packers shareholder; if you see her out and about she’d be happy to tell you the story of how a California girl became a cheesehead.