Brandon Ball keeps his gold Ford Explorer packed with gear you don't find in the back of just any law enforcement officer's vehicle.
A 100-pound Kevlar bomb suit with a 30-pound helmet. Flack vest. X-ray equipment.
And a sophisticated 180-pound robot called Boots.
Boots has six cameras, video and audio capability, a weapons system, the ability to climb stairs, grab objects, and destroy improvised explosive devices.
Plus the scars from five bullets taken in the line of duty.
Law enforcement major/bomb technician teaches online classes.
Ball is a law enforcement major in the Bureau of Fire & Arson Investigations with the Florida State Fire Marshal's Office. He has been a member of one of the bureau's specialty teams – the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit – for more than five years.
In addition to overseeing 50 law enforcement officers conducting fire, arson, and explosives investigations throughout the southern half of the state, Ball serves as a bomb tech in central Florida.
He also teaches several online criminal justice classes in evidence gathering and preservation for Saint Leo's Center for Online Learning.
If you're a criminal justice major – or interested in a law enforcement career – take a look at the video Mike Dadez, Saint Leo's social media manager, took of Ball's demonstration of Boots.
You'll get a glimpse into:
- The robot's unique weapons system and its internal components
- Ball's conversation with Boston's chief of police following the marathon bombings
- Skills and training required of a bomb tech
- Some of the safety equipment bomb techs use
Ball's online students ask him a lot of questions about his professional experience as a bomb technician and also about his expertise as arson investigator.
In What's It Like To Be A Bomb Tech? Part 2, Ball provides answers to many of those questions: about how he got started in his career, the highly specialized training he has received, and his advice for students who like to follow a similar path. Check it out!
Other posts you may be interested in reading: