The Explosives Disposal Unit is a cooperative effort between the Spokane Police and the County Sheriff’s Departments. Its mission is to render safe any explosive device or explosive material, and investigate items that are found and believed to be explosive in nature. The Unit combines technicians and command staff from both departments, with a present total of ten technicians. A technician from the Federal Bureau of Investigation is also attached to the team. The E.D.U.’s primary responsibility is within the Spokane City and County, but it acts in cooperation with federal agencies to provide service throughout the region of Eastern Washington and North Idaho.
The Explosive Disposal Unit—often called the “bomb squad”—is one of the busiest specialty units in the department with 92 call-outs for 2006. E.D.U. also conducts 23 team training events per year as well as conducting training for other law enforcement agencies, businesses, etc. The F.B.I. has the responsibility of certifying bomb technicians for police departments throughout the United States. The F.B.I. Hazardous Devices School is located at the Redstone Arsenal, near Huntsville, Alabama. This course is designed to familiarize officers with the tools and equipment that are used in this highly specialized field and provides basic skills that are necessary to become a bomb technician. Technicians must demonstrate proficiency with electronics, x-ray interpretation, hazardous materials, W.M.D. and other job related skills. Technicians must re-certify every three years by returning to HDS and passing performance and written exams. A three day Executive Management Course is also presented at the Redstone Arsenal to provide law enforcement CEOs a perspective on squad operations. Technicians assigned to the Spokane Explosives Disposal Unit are also licensed to perform demolition work by Washing State Department of Labor and Industries. Technicians are given national guidelines for training, and by meeting the above requirements, maintain the squad’s national accreditation. Accreditation is required for the squad to function.
The Spokane Explosive Disposal Unit passed an accreditation inspection by the F.B.I in 2004. In addition, each member of the team is required to medically certify prior to being accepted to basic school, and prior to being accepted for re-certification training. Since the purchase of S.C.B.A. equipment to work as first responders in a W.M.D. event, team members are required to meet physical guidelines yearly. The Unit’s training and discipline is such that no person has ever been injured when the Unit was in action with explosives.