SALT LAKE CITY — While many Utahns are relaxing this Labor Day weekend, an elite team of police technicians are on call, ready to prevent any type of explosive event.
Thanks to the folks who own Vivint Arena, members of the Utah bomb squad task force, comprised of officers from multiple police agencies, gathered to try out new equipment and test their skills in the event of a worst-case scenario.
“We, as the eight squads, cover the entire state,” explained Sgt. Ryan Albrecht, with the Salt Lake City Police Department and UTah Bomb Squad Task Force. “If there is any explosive-related incidences, suspicious devices, anything of that nature, they can call one of our eight squads.”
On this day, they’re training to deal with someone looking to harm others with explosives.
The training scenario involved an armed suspect who is wearing an explosive vest and looking to inflict mass impact at a large event. The suspect has been neutralized by police but they still need to get the dead and the explosive device out of the building as safely as possible.
“We’ve set up scenarios that are extremely challenging for the bomb squads to respond to,” Sgt. Albrecht said. “So if we get a call, we’re pretty confident we can handle anything that we’re faced with.”
The advances in tools the task forces uses continues to improve. From sophisticated all-terrain robots to drones and more.
“Robots, X-Ray equipment, drones, all that has gotten a lot better in the last few years to make our jobs a lot safer,” Sgt. Albrecht said.
Even with the new tech, there are times when it comes down to one officer in a specially designed suit to handle a dangerous situation.
“Obviously we try to use the technology to deal with things remotely,” Sgt. Albrecht said, “But if it’s a life-threatening event, we’re all trained to confront it and deal with it and we feel pretty confident we can do that.”
There are roughly 50 police officers who make up the eight bomb squads. Interested parties have to be nominated before they attend an advanced explosives school taught by the FBI and US Army.