Biloxi Bomb Squad wants to purchase special suit

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - They are the guys we call on to protect us in, quite literally, the most explosive situations. But now the Biloxi Police Department's Bomb Squad is in need of a little assistance itself.

The department said they want the City to approve the purchase of a $16,000 suit. No, not a designer Brioni suit, which can often run several thousand dollars. Their asking for a more durable ensemble-a bomb suit.

Sergeant John Campbell sorted through the bomb suits that his team has used for years.

Together, the bulky protective gear can reach a max weight of up to 70-pounds, but Campbell said heavy or not, having the suit is essential to his team.

"The suits are very important. They can determine whether or not a bomb tech walks away from an explosion or not. They're designed to absorb the scrap metal and protect you from the shock wave when it occurs," said Campbell.

Considering the type of work these men do, the right uniform is a must. That's why the team agreed that the purchase is the right way to spend money granted to them by the State Department of Homeland Security.

"This year we decided to use some of those monies to purchase a new bomb suit for those who are much taller than I am. Who are much bigger than I am. While they can fit in the suits that we presently have, it restricts their movement," Campbell said.

In this field, the Sergeant said limited mobility can be a major setback.

"You're able to move more freely and you're libel to make less mistakes than if you were in a smaller suit. You have to be very cognizant of what you're doing in the suit because you could take one misstep or one mis-movement and detonate the I.E.D. [improvised explosive device] you're trying to render safe," Campbell added.

The high-tech getup is made of kevlar and nomex. The same materials found in bullet proof vests, and fire resistant material. Despite the hefty price tag, Sergeant Campbell said he believes this expense is worth every penny.

The Biloxi City Council is slated to approve the purchase of the suit on Tuesday.

Through the grant that's in place, the City will purchase the suit and the state will reimburse the City.

The Police Department has already made several other purchases under the same grant.

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