Diffusing a Suspicious Package, with Help From 148th?

Authorities Seek Help Closer to Home for Threats

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It’s a concern law enforcement officials are bringing to light after a suspicious package showed up at UW-Superior.

Wednesday’s bomb scare turned out to be a false alarm, as it was deemed to be a box of spoiled meat.

However, the entire situation has authorities talking how it could have ended a lot sooner had there been closer access to a bomb squad.

It’s been a hot topic for Superior’s Police Department for quite some time, using the 148th to help diffuse a bomb or check a suspicious package, like what they found on campus Wednesday.

“Something roughly pillow size. Wrapped up in newspaper and then taped up and it was set on top of a man hole cover, sewer cover,” said Superior’s Assistant Chief of Police Matt Markon.

This is the third time since January that Marathon Bomb Squad has been called to access a situation in Superior.

The police department’s assistant chief said Minnesota National Guard’s chain of command controls whether or not the 148th can assist.

He said if the situation is local, and not federal, the answer is usually “no”.

“If it was a federal threat, to say the federal building in Duluth or a piece of military ordinance that was found then they would be able to help us but not at the local level,” said Superior Police’s Assistant Chief Matt Markon.

Instead, local authorities are kept waiting three to four hours for a bomb squad to arrive on scene.

“You hate to say, but what’s it going to take for this ridiculous federal policy to get changed? I don’t want the worst case scenario to happen before something changes,” said UWS’s Director of Communications and Government Relations Daniel Fanning.

While the bomb squad’s service is greatly appreciated, they do come with a hefty fee.

“We get invoiced at the police department if we call the Marathon county bomb squad so I have to believe that the campus will be invoiced by Marathon County for their expenses,” said Markon.

UWS could be looking at a bill greater than $2,000-dollars.

Despite the extra fee the main focus for UW-Superior is the safety of its students, faculty and staff.

“We have been recognized nationally as one of the safest campuses in the United States and we take that very seriously. We are very proud of that,” said Fanning.

The university has determined the student who dropped the package of spoiled meat will not face any charges.

Superior Police said they’ve spoken with key players like Congressman Duffy and Nolan about utilizing the 148th’s services and are taking steps to make the change. 

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