Airport 'incident' was just a training exercise

Imagine how shocked I was Tuesday when I arrived at the Medford airport to see several police officers and a bomb squad van milling around the area. Someone in the terminal told me that the bomb squad robot was seen carrying a package on the Tarmac. This seems like a big deal and I didn't see any news coverage. What gives?

— Ronnie D., Talent

Fear not, Ronnie, the Medford airport was not the target of a mad bomber on Tuesday.

Oregon State Police were performing a bomb training exercise, according to airport spokeswoman Kim Stearns.

"OSP was doing a demonstration on how they would dispose of a suspicious piece of baggage," Stearns said.

The exercise called for the robot to take a suitcase off a luggage conveyor and move it to a safe place where it was examined and then shot with the robot's high-powered water cannon, Stearns said.

The exercise occurred at around 2:30 p.m. and lasted for about a half-hour, Stearns said.

The goal is to improve communication between the airport and police on the chance that a suspicious package is found anywhere on airport grounds.

"We all want to be on the same page," Stearns said. "It's important that the agencies communicate well."

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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