In wake of Manchester bombing, St. Louis law enforcement beefs u - KMOV.com

In wake of Manchester bombing, St. Louis law enforcement beefs up tactics

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At a whopping 1,000 pounds, the "Wolverine" is the largest and newest of the unit's robots. (Credit: KMOV) At a whopping 1,000 pounds, the "Wolverine" is the largest and newest of the unit's robots. (Credit: KMOV)
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

Crowds at sporting events, fairs and festivals are a particularly "soft target" for potential terror attacks and St. Louis has its share of times when it's vulnerable.

The bomb unit is looking to beef up its equipment.

At a whopping 1,000 pounds, the "Wolverine" is the largest and newest of the unit's robots.

It can pick up an explosive device and during a police standoff, it can be sent in to speak with a subject.

"This has audio capabilities and a speaker with it so we can talk through and listen through it," said Detective Robert Keithley of the St. Louis County Police Department.

The St. Louis Regional Bomb and Arson Unit is a combined force with St. Louis County and City Police Department personnel.

Benjamin Granda, a St. Louis County Police Officer, said the robot can search buildings for a barricaded subject, adding that the robot prevents having to send officers in to look for a violent person.

The robots are used more often than one might think, and some have been shot at during standoffs.

One was damaged when an improvised explosive device, or IED, went off at a meth lab in Jefferson County.

The unit is now seeking a grant to replace at least one of the robots.

The replacement is necessary because when there are incidents such as the bombing in Manchester, St. Louis needs to be ready.

"We have to pay great attention to these other incidents that happen elsewhere to be sure we're on top of our game and make sure we're adapting to today's world and threats we may be facing," said Granda.

Law enforcement said they can't emphasize enough the advice of, "see something, say something."

If you see a suspicious package, alert police immediately. 

Even if it turns out to be a false alarm, let law enforcement handle it.

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