DELAWARE STATE POLICE EXPLOSIVE ORDNANCE DISPOSAL UNIT
Sergeant Christopher R. Ennis
The Delaware State Police Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Team is the longest serving bomb squad in the State of Delaware. Its nine 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 2012, the DSP-EOD Team continued their operational tempo answering 138 calls for service throughout the year. This tempo continues to rival most bomb squads in major metropolitan areas.
All members of the team, except for the officer in charge are part time. Each team member is required to attend three days of training monthly in order to maintain an expert level of proficiency on all pieces of equipment. To maintain a high level of proficiency and operational tempo, while still performing above average in their full time assignment, is a testament to their dedication and commitment to the division.
In 2012, all nine technicians successfully completed the Advanced Unexploded Ordnance Identification and Disablement Course through the Texas Engineering Extension Service. This is a 300 hour course condensed into ten, ten hour days of instruction. Technicians were required to study for several hours each night in order to pass the daily identification tests. Upon successfully completing the course, the technicians were certified as Army Corps of Engineers Level I Technicians.
Of the 138 calls for service in 2012, recovering live explosives, fireworks, military ordnance and ammunition accounts for one third of our calls, while conducting bomb sweeps and proactive response patrols during high profile events account for a little over one quarter. Although handling suspicious packages and live IED’s account for some of the smallest percentages of the workload, they will always remain the most volatile of all calls.
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 X-raying items suspected in drug trafficking, 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 utilize specialized equipment and attending advanced training, our EOD Team will remain prepared to face threats against our communities and critical infrastructure facilities at a moments 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.
Incident Type Incident Count / % of Total
Explosion (IED’s) 4 2.9%
Hoax Devices 2 1.4%
Recovery (Explosives/Powder/Ammo./Fireworks) 46 33.3%
Suspicious Package/Unattended Package 7 5.1%
Incident Sub-Total 59 42.7%
Activity Type Activity Count / % of Total
Disposal / Destruct 9 6.5%
Bomb Sweep/VIP Event/ Special Event 38 27.53%
Awareness Briefings/Presentations 16 11.6 %
Search Warrant (Assist) 5 3.6%
SWAT / Robot Assist 11 7.9%
Activity Sub-Total 79 57.1%
Grand Total 138
- Information obtained from 2012 DSP Annual Report -