Shelby Co. gives citizens a look behind the crime scene tape


Robots are becoming a vital part of bomb investigations. Just this week, a bomb squad helped figure out what was inside a suspicious package at the airport. {}Tonight, the Shelby County Sheriff's Office gave us a look behind the crime scene tape. The EOD units have worked everything from small cases to high profile scenes like the hostage situation at Chelsea Middle - when a man with a gun held students inside. Tonight we got a firsthand look at how it all works. "Last year we got called to Vestavia, last Summer, on a suspicious device in a CVS, this is what we used on it," a Hoover bomb squad member told the Citizen's Training Academy.Thursday night, students with the Shelby County Sheriff's Citizens' Training Academy learned all about how Hoover's bomb technicians work a scene."It's a lot different than what I anticipated coming in," Mark Clayton, an Academy student said.It may look like something out of a movie or even something that would land on another planet - but the Hoover EOD unit uses a robot to not only detonate bombs, but get through doors, climb stairs - plus hold microphones and cameras that can be used in a hostage situation."We'll be sitting 200 yards away and driving it into a small cubicle," an officer said.It uses an arm - that can hold or grab objects and a disrupter that shoots water at high speeds to detonate almost any type of bomb."We take those pan disrupters and we can shoot water between 800-1500 feet per second.""In this country and around the world, it's really a topic of great interest as we think about the bombs that go off and recently the bombs that went off in Boston," Sgt. Russell Bedsole, Shelby Co. Sheriff's Office said. "The men and women in these units have to stay on top of things as new things come out about what kind of bombs are out there."The academy is also training people in Shelby County to help fill a growing need..."A volunteer can come in and do some jobs for us that we couldn't do otherwise," Sgt. Bedsole said. "We might be able to give them an opportunity to serve the Sheriff's Office and Shelby County at the same time."{}"Just interest in what they did and how they did it," CLayton said. "I knew funding was short and I wanted to see how I could help out,"{}The Shelby County Sheriff's Office will start a new Citizens Training Academy in September. It plans to hold two six week courses throughout the year. Here is a link for more information:{}