BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - As of Tuesday night, the investigation surrounding an IED found under a car in Vancleave Monday is still ongoing.
As you heard on WLOX first, authorities responded to a call about a suspicious package at a home on Poticaw Bayou Road Monday afternoon. This package required the involvement of multiple agencies, including the Biloxi Bomb Squad.
The Biloxi Bomb Squad has existed for around 15 years. It covers the entire coastal region border to border. There are currently four federally recognized squads in Mississippi, all under the umbrella of the FBI.
"We are the functional arm for them, as far as taking care and making items safe for their investigation," said Lieutenant Milton Houseman of the Biloxi Bomb Squad.
Not only did Biloxi receive the first squad in the state, but it's also the largest. There are 19 bomb technicians in the state and Biloxi has six of them.
He says each police officer working as a bomb technician joined the squad voluntarily.
"It requires some time and study and dedication by the officer beyond his regular duties," said Houseman.
Each case the squad encounters is different and requires the technicians to go through intense training on a regular basis. The commander, Lieutenant John Campbell, is the senior bomb technician for the entire state.
"So, John is like a resident expert for the FBI," said Houseman.
Campbell is a part of the Bomb Squad Commanders Group that meets annually in Huntsville, AL to discuss protocols for the whole career field.
"[He's] a great asset for us to have here in Biloxi," said Houseman.
Campbell was the technician who suited up in 85 pounds of gear to disassemble the IED in Vancleave. Once he separated the parts, the squad handed the evidence over to ATF for forensic analysis.
Houseman said while each case is different, there are several goals that remain constant.
"It's no different than any other specialty within the department. The public safety is almost paramount and then the safety of the officers," said Houseman.
The other three bomb squads in the state are in Tupelo, Jackson, and Clinton. Biloxi, however, has more bomb diffusing equipment than any of the other agencies.