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Tulsa Police Bomb Squad Prepared For Worst, Urge Vigilance

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Monday's bombing in Boston has many people wondering if Tulsa's bomb squad is ready to handle a similar situation here. Monday's bombing in Boston has many people wondering if Tulsa's bomb squad is ready to handle a similar situation here.
Sgt. Jacob Thompson runs the TPD bomb squad and said, in addition to all the training, the squad has a lot of hi-tech equipment to help keep citizens safe. Sgt. Jacob Thompson runs the TPD bomb squad and said, in addition to all the training, the squad has a lot of hi-tech equipment to help keep citizens safe.
All this equipment and constant training isn't for show, it is to be ready in case the worst happens. All this equipment and constant training isn't for show, it is to be ready in case the worst happens.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

Monday's bombing in Boston has many people wondering if Tulsa's bomb squad is ready to handle a similar situation here.

Tulsa Police say--absolutely.

Nearly everyone on the Tulsa Police Department's bomb squad has at least 10 years of experience and they go through extensive education and training. They're not often in the spotlight, but they stay very busy, with an average of about 100 calls every year.

Tulsa has five explosive detection K-9 teams. The dogs are trained by the TSA and housed at the Tulsa airport, but are trained and cared for by Tulsa police officers. The dogs are trained to detect a number chemical explosives, no matter what other scents are around.

4/16/2013 Related Story: Source: Boston Marathon Bomb Made Of Bearings In Pressure Cooker

Tulsa also has eight bomb technicians, who go through a six-week specialized school, then get 40 to 80 additional hours of training each year on top of everyday and monthly training they do locally, then they have to get re-certified every three years.

Sgt. Jacob Thompson runs the TPD bomb squad and said, in addition to all the training, the squad has a lot of hi-tech equipment to help keep citizens safe.

"We do have robotics, X-ray capabilities, chemical detection capabilities, video surveillance and monitoring--that's the kind of stuff we pull out for protective sweeps, a lot of those," Thompson said.

The robot allows the officers to stay a safe distance away from possible explosive devices, to take a picture of it before the bomb techs have to get in close and risk life and limb to identify and disarm it.

All this equipment and constant training isn't for show, it is to be ready in case the worst happens.

"Citizens of Tulsa need to know we are ready to respond, should something like this happen in the city of Tulsa," Thompson said.

4/16/2013 Related Story: Police Presence Increased At Tulsa Runs In Wake Of Boston Bombing

In addition to doing bomb sweeps at upcoming runs in Tulsa, for the next few weeks, Thompson said everyone can help prevent the type of tragedy we saw in Boston by being vigilant. He advises people look around them, and if you see something out of place, like a package that's been abandoned, don't touch it, but do report it.

"Like at a Drillers game--you see an unattended backpack, alert staff of the facility. Whether it's the BOK Center, OneOK field or the Reynolds Center at TU, notify someone on staff who works for the facility," Thompson said.

Responding to suspicious packages makes up a large percentage of the calls the bomb squad goes on every year. They also get called out when people find old military ordnance, like grenades, usually in an older person's house that's being cleaned out. And they also respond to improvised explosive devices, where people make them at home, usually just to see if they can. But it is a felony to make a homemade bomb in Oklahoma.

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