Oakland Tribune Outtakes

Notes from Oakland, Berkeley and in between

Berkeley Police Department to get bomb robot

By kbender
Thursday, January 15th, 2009 at 4:11 pm in Crime/Courts.

There’s a new member of the Berkeley Police Department and this new member comes with a six-year warranty.

On Tuesday night, the Berkeley  City Council authorized the city manager to spend about $214,500 to buy a remote controlled bomb disposal robot. A combination of grant and city money will cover the costs of the robot, a warranty and parts.
 
Police spokesman Officer Andrew Frankel said the department hasn’t settled on a name. But officers are happy to have him (her?) on board.

“It’s a cool because it’s a lot of money to be getting for the robot. It’s certainly a nice resource to have and any time we have a tool to help us and keep the public safe, it’s a good thing,” Frankel said.

In a time when police departments are strapped for cash, short staffed, overworked and under fire (for sure), the federal government is actually requiring that all civilian bomb squads have a remote controlled bomb disposal robot as part of their equipment inventory. Go figure.

Berkeley police have had their own bomb squad for more than 30 years and each year respond to a handful of calls for service involving suspicious packages, suspected explosive devices and recovered explosives, police officials said.

Six people will be trained on the robot, which is operated using a radio, tethered cable or fiber optic cable, police said.

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