Biloxi Bomb Squad Receives New Tool

A robot called a "Mini Andros" is the newest member of Biloxi's bomb squad. Three cameras onboard help to survey an area, steer the robot, and then grasp a potential explosive.

"It's wonderful," said Jim Adamo, a member of Biloxi's bomb squad.  "I mean, it really has the potential to save a lot of lives."

It saves lives because it can enter into situations and pick up bombs that in the past would have been done by an officer.

The bomb squad trains twice a month in real-life situations. Bomb technicians manuever the robot using a remote control mounted in a suitcase. The robot can travel more than 300 feet away transmitting images of potentially deadly explosives in a number of situations.

"We can use it in an aircraft," explained John Campbell, a Biloxi bomb squad member.  "It's small enough to where we can drive it down the aisle of an aircraft to pick up a suspicious package in an aircraft."

The robot is also equipped with a speaker and microphone which was used in July so a hostage negotiator could talk to a Keesler airmen who had barricaded himself inside his apartment. Technicians say it's a wonderful tool, but requires lots of training and teamwork.

"You don't have any depth perception so you need a spotter with a spotting scope to kind of give you another set of eyes so you can tell how close you are and so on," Campbell said.

Because bomb making instructions are becoming more easily available on the internet, technicians expect the bomb squad will be needed more and more.

"The average bomb that they will come across is a very crude device that can be made with most things you'll either find around the house or very general hardware store item," Adamo said.

But now Biloxi officers have a new tool to help protect themselves and keep potentially dangerous situations from blowing up in their faces.

The Biloxi Police Department says if a situation arises in another city, it would share the bomb squad's technicians and equipment, if asked. Biloxi is the only local police department in Missisisippi with a certified bomb squad.