Endicott Bomb Squad has Far Reach
4/2/2013 (Updated 9:42:52 PM)(Source: Jason Weinstein)
The four-person Endicott Bomb Squad includes another critical member - this robot which is often the team's first line of communication.
"We can get the intel from the officers on the scene but we like to have our own eyes on it. So our main things is to send this robot down first," said Detective James Surdoval of the Endicott Police Department, and a bomb technician.
The squad consists of three Endicott police officers and one village firefighter. It began in 1985 after I-B-M had received a number of terroristic threats and wanted it's own bomb squad.
"They wanted to have a bomb squad with their own security and was told by the FBI that they only trained public safety, police and fire. So IBM approached Chief Walter Ford and asked him what he thought about it. And the chief was on board with it," said officer and Endicott Bomb Squad Technician Michael Hilla.
New members have to go through six weeks of training. All members train once a month. The team is one of 13 bomb squads in New York state. It's coverage area includes an hour-plus radius around the Greater Binghamton area.
"We handle roughly six counties. Myself, I've been as far as Scranton, Pennsylvania. So we go where we're called," said Hilla.
"It takes a special person to be a bomb tech. A lot of the qualities that you count on, people who can remain calm in a stressful situation, who can think in a stressful situation," said Surdoval.
After 28 years on the job, Michael Hilla hasn't been on any tragic calls, but certainly some close ones.
"One time in particular I went up on a device and it actually had a clock timer and I noticed that time had stopped at 30 seconds, which it could start up just as easily. That made the hair on the back of my neck stand up," said Hilla.
****In Endicott, Jason Weinstein, Fox 40 HD News****
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