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Erie Co sending robots into dangerous situations

Posted at 2:12 PM, Sep 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-28 14:15:43-04

The Erie County Sheriff's Office has invested in a robot bomb squad to send into dangerous situations.

Bomb Squad Captain Bill Cranston says a half-million dollars for one robot is the price worth paying to protect the community and his deputies.

"Go remote without sending one of my bomb techs down scene, I'll take that option every single time," said Cranston. "This robot behind me can be replaceable. We can get a new one, but what I can't replace is the life of a bomb tech. So if I can use robots I will."

The robots come in all sizes and are remote controlled to help bomb squad technicians safely analyze a scene.

"We can work on things, we can get good pictures," said Cranston. "It's got a grabbing handle, we can move things around. We can use it to initiate interruptions on the suspicious package."

The Erie County Bomb Squad also uses two bomb detection dogs. The dogs are trained twice a month on their abilities to detect odors in relation to what the squad needs. The bomb squad trains once a month, with additional training sessions a few times a year.

The bomb squad says the next time it meets for training, the members will consider recent events like bombs in New York and New Jersey to adapt their training tactics.