The Odessa Police Department Bomb Squad has been FBI accredited since 1987 and is 1 of 450 FBI accredited bomb squads in the Nation. The Department’s five Bomb Squad technicians respond to situations that involve explosives, improvised devices, hazardous situations and hazardous materials. With a responsibility that includes the 17 counties of the Permian Basin Region, the Bomb Squad provides tremendous technical assessment capabilities for these types of incidents. Bomb technicians have responded all over west Texas to assist local, State and Federal agencies. The Bomb Squad also provides support capabilities during critical incidents involving hostage and barricaded subjects. Bomb squad members also provide instruction and show and tell events for the Citizen’s Police Academy and local students.
Each bomb technician must attain Hazardous Material Technician level certification and then attends the six week FBI Hazardous Devices School at the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, AL. After completion of the basic training course, each technician must be recertified every three years at HDS. Additional training schools that technicians attend include:
- Advanced Explosive Demolition Techniques – ATF
- Advanced Explosive Investigative Techniques – ATF
- Post Blast Investigation – FBI
- Large Vehicle Bomb Post Blast – FBI
- Large Vehicle Bomb Counter Measures Course – FBI
- Haz-Mat Certification – Dept. of Homeland Security – Center for Domestic Preparedness
- Advanced Electronics – FBI
Currently, the bomb squad has an inventory of tools and equipment that provide tremendous assessment and render safe capabilities. The newest piece of equipment is a Mark VA-1 robotic vehicle. The bomb squad is also able to provide real time video and audio feeds, digital x-ray imaging and hazardous environment assessments. The bomb squad works closely with fire department haz-mat units and area SWAT and hostage negotiation teams. The Permian Basin region provides Homeland Security grant funding for acquisition of equipment and training.