Bomb squad members in both Dallas and North Richland Hills are now utilizing state-of-the-art X-ray technology when dealing with suspicious packages or devices.
This week, Dallas Police received a new SmartRay X-ray system that was purchased with grant money from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Bomb squad technicians with the City of North Richland Hills were trained on the same X-ray system at the end of 2017.
Dallas PD and North Richland Hills Fire Department are the only two entities in the DFW area with the technology, and WFAA learned many more departments are considering it.
The system comes with a portable X-ray panel that can be placed against or near a suspicious package by a technician or a bomb robot.
Once technicians get clear of danger, an X-ray can be made, which is then transmitted back to a tablet.
Within seconds, the image comes back crystal clear on the tablet—giving technicians a better look at what they're dealing with.
It also helps them clear scenes faster if the package isn't a threat.
North Richland Hills Fire Battalion Chief Charles Goggans said that the system ensures the safety of the public and his bomb technicians.
“We can tell if there's an explosive inside the package, or if it's something that's not a threat,” Goggans said. “And we can make that decision from a safe distance.”
All bomb squads are required to have some sort of X-ray capability.
But Goggans, who has been on the EOD team in North Richland Hills since 1994, says older X-ray systems aren't as efficient as the SmartRay machine.
“A lot of them are older, bulkier, and can take a little more time to develop an X-ray,” he said.
Not only that, Goggans said that older systems weren't wireless.
“We'd have to take the machine to the suspicious device, take an X-ray, go back and get the device, and then bring it back to scan it and develop it,” he said.
“With this, it comes right to the tablet.”
Which means no technicians risk walking back and forth to a suspicious device just to get an X-ray.
According to a representative with SmartRay, ATF agents currently use their system too.