POLICE Magazine

MAY 2019

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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Officers responding to a suspicious package should always call the bomb squad to seek input and guidance. e first responder acts as the dispatcher, giving as much information as possible to other responding units, including the bomb squad. e responding officers can be of great assistance if they are able to provide the following information and data to the bomb squad: • e location of the suspicious package • e accessibility of the package • e details that make the package suspicious or that caused someone to report it • e abnormalities of the package. Do you see wires? Do you hear sounds emanating from it? Do you notice any- thing else unusual about it? • A photo of the package, if it is safe to take one upon first observation. is can help the bomb squad evaluate the threat and consider such things as evacuation distances, initial approach- es, and other courses of action prior to their arrival. • e environment immediately around the package • Interviews with any witnesses who are able to provide further information • Your estimate of if the area can be evacuated In addition to the above informa- tion, it is helpful if the first officers on the scene can set up a location for the bomb squad to stage within a safe and reasonable proximity of the suspicious package. If the suspicious package is outside such as in a parking lot or field, then a good starting point for evacuation dis- tances is around 300 feet. Remember, if you can see the package then the poten- tial IED can see you. Be sure to search the proposed bomb squad staging area/command post for potential secondary or additional suspi- cious packages. Historically, some bad guys, especially terrorists, have set up secondary devices to harm responding personnel. One of the most important roles for non-bomb tech officers at a suspicious package critical incident is to establish and maintain a perimeter and provide additional security for the bomb squad. Always consider security of the position when choosing a potential bomb squad staging area. Training If your department has a bomb squad, the bomb techs can be teaching "aware- ness" classes during in-service training. is training should involve educating fellow officers on how to identify explo- sive components and about the chemi- cals commonly used to make IEDs. You should also consider having your bomb squad teach a class on how to respond to and deal with suspicious packages. If your department does not have a bomb squad, reach out to the bomb squad that responds to your jurisdiction and request training. To find the bomb squad that would respond to your jurisdiction, you can call your local FBI office, which will be able to find a contact for you. Also, the United States Bomb Technician Asso- ciation (USBTA) may be able to help facilitate suspicious package response training for your department. e USBTA (www.usbta.us) is a pro- fessional association of public safety and military bomb technicians. e organization gives bomb disposal pro- fessionals, academics, industry, and innovators opportunities to share re- sources, ideas, and experiences. It seeks to strengthen the bomb disposal com- munity and enhance public safety by establishing a network of trust, aware- ness, and collaboration. n Brian Knudsen has served 18 years in law enforcement. He is a sergeant and an active bomb technician with the Arapa- hoe County (CO) Sheriff's Office. Knud- sen has been a certified bomb technician for more than 12 years and is currently a board member of the United States Bomb Technician Association. Sean Dennis retired as a sergeant af- ter 22 years in law enforcement and 10 years with the Department of Homeland Security. He is the former bomb squad commander for the Arapahoe County (CO) Sheriff's Office. Dennis is the presi- dent and CEO of the United States Bomb Technician Association. C R I T ICA L I NC I D E N T R E S P O N S E | SP E C I A L R E P O RT | 11 Consider having your bomb squad teach a class on how to respond to and deal with suspicious packages. Before responding to a suspicious package, call the bomb squad to seek input and guidance.

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