Grant raises bomb squad capabilities

By Danza Johnson

TUPELO – Police Chief Tony Carleton says a $50,000 grant awarded to Tupelo’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal team will enhance the unit’s capabilities and in turn benefit the whole region.
The EOD team, better known as the bomb squad, will use the Homeland Security grant to buy new equipment for the unit and the bomb disposal robot.
Although some people have questioned the need for such a unit in Northeast Mississippi, Carleton and area law enforcers see it as a necessity. The unit has already responded to three calls this year in Tupelo dealing with suspicious packages, and although all three turned out to be false alarms, Carleton said they could have been the real thing.
“The sad thing is that we do need a bomb unit in this day and age,” said Carleton. “What if one of those situations did involve an explosive device and we didn’t have a unit in place to deal with it? Then we’d be in a terrible position that could risk lives. I hope we never find a bomb but the reality is that it’s possible.”
Smaller departments like the Baldwyn Police Department and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department say that having a bomb squad in Tupelo benefits the entire area.
“I really believe that in the future there will be more of a need for such a unit,” said Baldwyn Police Chief Don Rowan. “There is no way a department our size could afford a bomb squad, so it’s good that Tupelo has one and that they make it available to agencies.”
Monroe Sheriff Andy Hood said pooling resources throughout the region makes law enforcement stronger.
“It’s good to have the regional approach we have with Tupelo and other agencies,” said Hood, who has sent deputies to training on bomb recognition. “We don’t have the resources they have but we do access to what they have because they have made it available. That allows us to provide maximum protection to our residents.”
Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or danza.johnson@journalinc.com.