1974 Bomb Disposal Robot – “Leroy”

The Cleveland Police Bomb Squad deployed it’s 1974 Wheelbarrow RCV Bomb Disposal Robot for many missions of bomb recovery and disposal.  This unit was originally designed and manufactured in England to combat the Provisional Irish Republican Army’s Improvised Explosive Devices (IED’s)..   

Dubbed “Leroy” by the members of the CPD Special Investigations Unit, this MORFAX remotely operated tracked vehicle was used for many years for bomb and suspicious package investigation and disposal.

It is electrically driven by self-contained batteries.  The control panel built into the rear of the vehicle is used to operate the attachments.  Leroy is controlled via video and the switches on the small “control panel” with the red plastic face at the end of the short operating extension.  On an actual mission a reel holding a much longer control cable would be mounted on the rear of the vehicle and attached to the “control panel” and a video monitor.

The unit is currently configured for “package retrieval” with a pick-up arm, video camera, remotely fired shot-gun, spot/flood light and “drop-off” attachment. The robot can be configured for other special tasks by changing the “operating arm” and the arrangement of the powered solenoids.

Not fully functional when donated to the Police Museum, Leroy was completely refurbished in 2013 by the Mobile and Remote Sensing Lab (MARS) team at the NASA Glen Research Center.  Now the robot is capable of being controlled from the original control box, a wireless handheld game control box or a lap top computer.  The interior of the 200-volt video camera has been replaced with a solid-state camera, “…however, that camera resides within the original housing so no one will be the wiser” according to Mike Krasowski of NASA.  Leroy now has all new batteries, motor controllers (with slower speed and smooth acceleration) and electronics. 

NASA scientists working on Leroy


Leroy heading home from NASA
Leroy being demonstrated at the 2014 Police Museum Vintage Vehicle Show

Written by Cleveland Police Historical Society and Museum volunteer Commander Robert Cermak, Ret.