Homeland Security money brings high tech bomb robot to Augusta

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When Augusta deputies dealt with an incident downtown Wednesday, News 12 viewers saw some new equipment in action.

Jonathan Martin shows you how Homeland Security money is helping our local officers.

It’s brand new and it’s one of a kind...Thursday we a got look inside Richmond County's bomb squad truck.

Bomb technician Raymond Jones has a personal connection to Richmond County’s brand new mobile bomb squad unit.

Not only did he design it, he works in it everyday.

“It’s the best. Right now it’s the only one in the country,” Jones says.

Thanks to a Homeland Security grant, this half a million dollar truck is equipped with the latest in bomb technology...including bomb proof suits that can weigh up to 80 pounds, a containment vessel for radiological explosives, and Wilson, a $200,000 robot who can do a lot of the dangerous work.

“And members of the bomb squad are out here every week practicing different scenarios like this one with vehicle born explosions,” says Jones.

That training along with this truck came in handy on Wednesday afternoon as authorities responded to a suspicious briefcase in front of a law office on Greene Street.

They blocked traffic near the office for nearly 2 hours, bringing in bomb sniffing dogs…and Wilson.

New technology in the truck also allowed them to take X-rays of the briefcase. These showed batteries and a calculator inside, signs of a potential bomb...so they used the robot to detonate it.

And though it wasn’t a bomb, Jones says you really never can tell.

“People fall under the illusion that if it looks like a bomb, it’s a bomb,” he says.

With the new truck, Jones says that whenever there is a suspicious package, folks in the area can feel a little more at ease.

“There is no problem that I am aware of that we cannot handle with one hundred percent success,” he says.

Jones tells News 12 that 11 other cities are now getting similar trucks after seeing this one.

News 12’s interview with Jones was actually cut short Thursday because the truck was called out to another suspicious package. It also turned out to be nothing.

They get called out a lot. Jones estimates that about 20 percent of the time, they do find an explosive.

He says that a lot of the time, those explosives are built by children who are learning how to make bombs on the Internet.