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The 2012 Cow Town ThrowDown in Lee's Summit
November 10, 2012
Students learn about the Lee's Summit
Police Department's bomb disposal robot.
Tribune Photo/Ron Wight
By Mary Pechar
The 2012 Cow Town ThrowDown was held November 2nd & 3rd at Lee’s Summit High School. Sponsored by Cerner Corporation and Lee’s Summit High School Team Driven #1730 along with Team 2001 HERMES from Ruskin High School, this event is the Kansas City area’s only off-season FIRST robotics event. This year 45 area teams played the FIRST Rebound Rumble.
Members of the Lee’s Summit Police Departments Bomb Squad / EOD Unit including Detective Chad Albin, Officer John Heil and Officer John Easley along with Public Information Officer Sargent Chris Depue brought out their bomb disposal robot and captivated robotics enthusiasts with a practical, working application.
LSPD’s Bomb Squad is one of seven in the Kansas City Metro area supporting each other as needed in a given situation. The LSPD Squad averages between 30 and 40 calls a year within the City and the Metro area. Each member of the team has another full-time position within the department and in addition trains twice a month with the Bomb Squad. A six week training session at a bomb school is required for certification and officers are required to re-certify every three years.
“For those of us technicians that operate it, the bots our baby,” said Officer John Easley. “Unlike your favorite TV show, hand entry is very, very rare. We take care of the bot and it takes care of us. You can’t put an arm back on me, but you can the bot.”
The bomb disposal robot is a heavy duty robot that is operated with a PS3 controller. The bot can run wirelessly but within buildings fiber optic cable is more reliable. The robots five cameras include two for front and back drive views, one mast camera which can be raised or lowered to provide an overall view and two for the intricate disposal work.
LSHS student Andrew Crance, provided a comparison to the Team Driven robot. “We have a similar drive system,” said Crance. “Both robots are four wheel drive with outriggers for stability but the bomb disposal robot is about four times as heavy. It would only be able to shoot one ball at a time but it certainly could play Rebound Rumble.” And then he issued a challenge to the Bomb Squad to stick around and go one on one with Team Driven.
“Next year,” said Sargent Depue. “This was a great chance to interact with the community in a non traditional role. It is rare to get an opportunity with a direct one to one correlation. We will definitely be back next year.”
Vince Villa (pronounced “VEE-AH”), 47, a Biology teacher at Lee Summit North High School