Little Rock Bomb Squad sees increase in calls

    5:43 PM, May 3, 2013   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- After and number of suspicious packages and backpacks were left alone, the Little Rock Bomb Squad reported getting more and more calls to come check them out, and if you are attending any of the state's festivals over the summer months, you will more than likely see them out there.

    The Little Rock Bomb Squad is usually at all the major public events in the city, but since the Boston bombings, they said calls for help have gone up. From bomb scares to simple security sweeps, the bomb squad is staying busy.

    The two bombs that exploded at the Boston Marathon killed three people and injured hundreds. The event shook the streets of Boston and the entire country. Though it happened more than a thousand miles away, the effects have made it to the Natural State.

    "After an event, everyone is a little hyper sensitive. We make a lot more runs that are suspicious packages that we usually wouldn't see," explained Captain Jason Weaver with the Little Rock Bomb Squad.

    Just last week, his team checked out a suspicious package at the North Little Rock Revenue Office that turned out to be a false alarm.

    Along with more frequent bomb scares, Captain Weaver said events like the March of Dimes and the Blues Festival asked for extra security from the bomb squad, which is something they had not been asked to do before.

    "Riverfest is our next event. We try to stay behind the scenes but move around enough to make our presence known," added Capt. Weaver.

    More calls mean more work, but Captain Weaver said it just means folks are becoming more aware of their surroundings, and when it comes to safety, that is never a bad thing.

    "Some people are really afraid, but I think it heightens their awareness and really makes people watch a little better. It's better safe than sorry," concluded Capt. Weaver.

    Captain Weaver said most of the threats they usually see come from homemade devices or old military grenades found buried in backyards. But lately, suspicious backpacks or packages left in public places have become the primary focus of attention.

    Captain Weaver said there are five bomb squads across the state. Each of them, including his team of 11, are trained by the FBI in Huntsville, Ala. Each squad goes through six weeks of hands-on training.

    The Little Rock Fire Department took over the Little Rock Bomb Squad in the early 1970's.

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