July 03, 2006

Agreement will enhance bomb squad response time

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- An agreement that involves the Southern Illinois University Carbondale Department of Public Safety and federal authorities will help in providing a quicker response for bomb squad units throughout the state.

Next week, the FBI will swear in four technicians from the explosive ordinance disposal unit operated by SIUC police and Carbondale police. Officials say this approach will prevent jurisdictional issues that might arise in the event of an emergency. In addition to the unit at SIUC, which has been in place since 1997, bomb squads from the Quad Cities, Illinois Secretary of State, Peoria Police Department and the University of Illinois/Champaign police units are also being sworn in as special federal officers.

Todd D. Sigler, director of SIUC's public safety department, said his department has had a "longstanding working relationship with the FBI in a variety of areas."

"Especially in a non-urban area where the sharing of resources is central, being able to provide urban-area level types of services such as a bomb unit – the only way you can get those things to happen is if you are working mutually with these agencies," he said.

SIUC police Cpl. Bennie J. Vick, police officer Ronald J. Kennedy and Carbondale police hazardous devices technicians Detective Mark Goddard and Sgt. Keith Stiff will be sworn in as special federal officers July 12 at the U.S. Marshal's Office in Benton.

Marshall Stone, a supervisory special agent with the FBI in Springfield, said the initiative is mutually beneficial to the FBI and participating entities.

"Having bomb technicians located throughout the state will decrease the response time in the event we need additional resources," he said. "Having those individuals with federal deputization allows us to request their assistance outside their statutory jurisdiction."

In addition, if a significant event happens within the jurisdiction of any participating agency, they will be able to call upon those resources for assistance, Stone said.

"We receive a lot of good training and support from the FBI and this is a way for us to support the FBI and other federal agencies in their role," said Carbondale police deputy chief Calvin Stearns.

There are only two other jurisdictions with similar agreements under the new initiative, Stone said. Those are in Kansas City and Las Vegas.

"We are very pleased and very proud of the fact the FBI has the level of confidence in us to enter into this kind of agreement," Sigler said.

Collaborating and developing partnerships with other government agencies and promoting campus safety are among the goals ofSouthern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint the University is following as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2019.


Agreement will enhance bomb squad response time

Taking it slowly – Southern
Illinois University Carbondale
Department of Public Safety
Cpl. Bennie J. Vick maneuvers a
remote-controlled bomb disposal
robot through its paces. Vick
and three other members of
the joint SIUC-Carbondale
police explosive ordinance
disposal unit will be sworn
in as special federal officers
by the FBI next week in Benton.
Download Photo Here