The Marathon - Oneida County Bomb Squad is prepared for a variety of highly dangerous situations, and one tool they have in particular, a bomb-diffusing robot, makes their job a little easier and a lot safer.
The bomb squad is called out to dangerous scenarios on average 36 times a year, and each time the truck rolls, the bomb robot is along for the ride.
It recently had a nearly $70,000 software upgrade, paid for in federal grant dollars.
"This tool does not take away anyone's job, it doesn't detect bombs it still requires a human operator to make it work," Lt. Chad Billeb with the Marathon County Sheriff's Department said. "Much like any other industry that is out there right now we're looking to technology to make our lives simpler and safer."
Its job is to get into situations that would otherwise be too dangerous for a bomb tech.
Techs can control it wirelessly from inside the bomb squad truck, viewing different angles thanks to several mounted cameras.
Controlling the robot is relatively simple but all of its capabilities are very complex. It can be used in a variety of scenarios.
"Anytime there's a dangerous situation where we wouldn't want to send a person in, we can send this machine in," said Dept. Matt Anderson, who is on the bomb squad.
Along with disassembling bombs and other explosives, this $400,000, 800 pound robot can rip through walls and shoot bullets.
It can be used in hostage negotiations or to wade through hazardous materials.
"For the most part it is an awesome tool to help bomb techs do their job, its a resource that's there," Lt. Billeb said.
The bomb squad was recently called out to Stratford High School because of a bomb threat, but the robot was not used.
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