Sergeant Chris Ennis
The Delaware State Police Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Team is the longest serving bomb squad in the State of Delaware and the only unit responsible for all hazardous devices calls outside the City of Wilmington and incorporated areas of New Castle County. Its eleven bomb technicians are strategically based throughout the state to cover the 1,954 square miles within our borders. With Delaware being the 6th most densely populated state in the nation and the base of over 50 percent of all U.S. publicly traded corporations, maintaining a strategic response plan is crucial.
In calendar year 2015 the DSP-EOD team was called to service a staggering 123 times. This tempo continues to rival most full time bomb squads in major metropolitan areas.
In 2015, the team certified four new technicians to reach it’s FBI approved staffing limit of eleven certified technicians. The typical wait time for a new “recruit” to attend the FBI Hazardous Device School (HDS) in Huntsville, AL is approximately 18 months. During that time, they are still required to attend monthly team training and respond to calls for service. Each recruit is assigned to an experienced bomb technician on the team also known as a Field Training Officer (FTO). The FTO evaluates the new technician daily during training and acts as a mentor to the officer throughout his probationary period. After twelve months on the team, the recruit’s progress is evaluated by all of the senior members of the team. Only recruits possessing the integrity, leadership, attitude, and discipline, required for this profession are permitted to submit their application to attend the prestigious Hazardous Devices School.
All members of the team, except for the officer in charge are part time. Team members keep their skills honed by attending three days of intense training each month and at least 80 hours of advanced training per year. Maintaining this level of proficiency and operational tempo in a part time capacity is a testament to their dedication and commitment to the team, the division and the citizens of Delaware.
Since 9/11, the mission for the public safety bomb technician has evolved immensely. The sophisticated equipment and special skills that the team possesses has applications well beyond the traditional bomb disposal role. Whether it’s using our sophisticated equipment to assist with drug and weapons investigations, providing an explosive entry into a fortified structure, or providing two way communication and video surveillance during hostage/barricaded incidents, the bomb technician’s role is constantly evolving.
The Delaware State Police EOD Team has shown adaptability and perseverance by growing with this continuously evolving field and threats against our way of life. Today’s threats are more alarming than ever before due to the ingenuity of our adversaries and easy access to explosive components worldwide. In fact, DSP has been recognized as a leader in our profession by using techniques outside of the traditional EOD paradigm. By continuing to update our specialized equipment and attending advanced training, our EOD Team will remain prepared to face threats against our communities and critical infrastructure facilities at a moment’s notice. Our motto of “Initial Success or Total Failure” is a constant reminder to our technicians of the perilous challenges they must successfully conquer with each and every mission. Failure is not an option.
- Information obtained from 2015 DSP Annual Report -