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An incident involving a suspicious package on a Fargo mail drop box could have been dangerous. That's why a bomb squad was called. They even had to use one of their most vital resources, which is a robot. It’s not often that people hear about bomb squad activity, but the team is actually called out dozens of times every year.

Bomb Squad Commander, Detective Tim Runcorn, says, “Everyone on the special operations unit have their own roles."

He's not your average officer, but he sees his fair share of crime.

Detective Runcorn says, "The robot itself has been shot."

Meet Flip. Like many officers, his coworkers gave him a nickname.

"We flipped the robot the second time we even moved it,” says Detective Runcorn.

He's a vital member of the Red River Regional Bomb Squad. He's put into a lot of dangerous situations... Anything from stand offs to potential bomb situations.

Detective Runcorn says "We'd rather have the robot take the round as opposed to an officer."

The robot is equipped with five cameras. Three are used to drive and steer. One is for getting up close to things and using this claw, and one has cross hairs to find things to shoot at.

And yes, they have had to shoot things.

Detective Runcorn says, "IEDs were located and then also some mock packages were located in Fargo.”

Flip definitely gets a workout. He's called out roughly 40 times a year, but most people wouldn't know it.

"We try and keep it under wraps,” says Detective Runcorn.

It's a tactic to keep not only bomb squad secrets but people safe, which is their number one priority.

Detective Runcorn says, "These robots are saving lives. After a swat call out that an officer was shot, these have been used ever since."

Flip also has a fellow robot friend on the force. It's a smaller version that can more easily get into places like apartments. Flip is used more often because of his additional features. Plus he can be operated from up to about a mile away.

Amy Unrau

Amy is proud to be a Red River Valley native and cover stories that matter to her community. She was raised in Hallock, Minnesota and received her degree at the University of North Dakota where she participated in the student run TV show Studio One. In college, Amy met her husband, WDAY’s Jody Norstedt, while interning at WDAZ in Grand Forks. She started at WDAY in April 2014 and is currently WDAY'Z Xtra News at Nine's anchor and producer. Have a news idea? Amy would love to share your story or investigate an issue you’re concerned about.

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