LAS CRUCES, NM (KTSM) — They are called in during situations that could quickly turn deadly. We’re talking about the Doña Ana county Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad. A lot of training goes into keeping the community safe from potential threats, and KTSM got an up-close view of the kind of training involved.
On a sunny day in June, the bomb squad is hard at work training with their robotics. “What you saw today was a remote operation of taking a robot, going through a doorway,” Captain Jon Day with DASO’s Bomb Squad explained.
That robot is known as an F6B robot. It’s designed to work remotely to move into an area and dismantle explosive or hazardous devices found in the community. The endless hours of training is important because the squad only has one chance to get things right.
“It’s the most important part of the job, cause once you’re out there, there is no such thing as training. You’re either going to do it or you don’t,” Detective Michael Hinojosa with DASO’s Bomb Squad said.
“Should a catastrophic failure occur and we have detonation, I’m just losing a $168,000 piece of equipment and not a team member or someone else’s life,” said Hinojosa.
The squad doesn’t only train for bomb-related incidents, they also train for potential barricaded subjects, and scenarios where a suspect may be holed up inside a location that would be dangerous to send a live deputy into.
“This is a small part of the big picture in which we conduct up to 60 operations a year in this community or surrounding communities,” Hinojosa explained.
There are six bomb tech teams in the State of New Mexico, but DASO’s team is the only team on the southern border.
In May, the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Bomb Squad won first place at the Western National Robot Rodeo in Albuquerque.