WIU becomes the site of bomb squad training - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

WIU becomes the site of bomb squad training

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MACOMB, Ill. (WGEM) -

It's been nearly 3 years since numerous bomb threats were made on Western Illinois University's campus.

In August 2011, a student was sentenced to prison for using an automated calling service to make several hoax threats.

Today, some of the investigators that were on that case, returned to the WIU campus for Illinois State Bomb Squad training.

Eight members from the Secretary of State Bomb Squad were taking part in their monthly training this morning at a vacant dorm building on WIU's campus.

"This venue came up mainly because of a bomb threat here a couple years. So, it's just a good place to come and set off a few disrupters and run robots and work the dogs," said Investigator Doug Brinkley.

With an average 200 calls a year Brinkley says these practices are important because they never know what they'll encounter during the real thing.

"You know, somebody found something that looks suspicious and it turns out to be nothing," said Brinkley. "And, there's actual times where there's real devices to be dealt with."

Bomb squad technicians do these trainings to prepare for the worst. WIU Freshman Ryan Knight says even though he's new to campus, he does feel protected here.

"I feel safe," said Knight. "I mean, I'm not really worried about anything happening."

However, Knight says he thinks it's a good thing for law enforcement to be trained especially with recent school tragedies.

"I think it's good considering all the bomb threats we get around the country and everything that's going on," said Knight.

The bomb squad training continues Friday with specially trained canines, handlers and technicians.

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