COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. - It's your money and WINK News is pushing to find out just how much you pay every time agencies respond to investigate suspicious packages. Our own investigation started after a string of suspicious packages in Collier County ended up being nothing.
When you hear the siren and see "Bomb Squad" on the front of an emergency vehicle, it may seem like a familiar site. That's because this vehicle has hit the streets of Collier several times this year.
Sal Conigliero had a closer encounter with the Bomb Squad Wednesday.
"I thought maybe I was back in New York City because the robots. I would see them on TV, but to see them live here."
The Bomb Squad, Sheriff's deputies, North Naples Fire and EMS all came out to the scene near Conigliero's restaurant on. A suspicious package next to Regions bank wound up being an empty book bag.
Conigliero believes it's all necessary in the world we live in, "Years ago we don't pay attention, but after 9/11 everybody started paying attention."
So far this year, there's been 19 calls for suspicious packages. In 2009, there was only 19 total.
What does all this cost you? It depends on the response.
For North Naples Fire and Rescue, a typical call like this gets two emergency vehicles and four rescue workers. That totals $300 an hour. A typical call, usually not less than two hours; multiply that by the 19 calls so far this year. What you get is a minimum of $11,400 of your money spent on suspicious package incidents whether they're legit or not.
That total is strictly for Fire and EMS. The Sheriff's office is the one that sends the bomb squad. They're refusing to give us any idea of the cost of that. WINK News if filing the necessary paperwork to get that answer.
North Naples Chief Orly Stolts puts it in perspective, "You know we don't have to send all those people. We don't, we could send one law enforcement guy to reach down and pick up the package. Maybe 99% of the time it won't be anything."
Conigliero says he'd rather be safe than worry about that other one percent. "Money, easy come easy go. Life, once it goes it never comes back."