The Leon County Sheriff’s Office, Hazardous Devices Team is responsible for the safe disposal of explosives and improvised explosive devices. The Hazardous Devices Team is a member of the Big Bend Regional Bomb Squad, which is comprised of members from four agencies: Leon County Sheriff’s Office, Florida Department of Law Enforcement / Division of Capital Police, Florida State Fire Marshal’s Office and Tallahassee Police Department.
The Big Bend Regional Bomb Squad is responsible for covering the thirteen county area of the North Florida Regional Domestic Security Task Force.
Assignment to the Hazardous Devices Team is a collateral responsibility meaning each team member has another primary law enforcement assignment such as patrol or investigations, in addition to Bomb Squad duties. Each team member must attend the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Hazardous Devices School at the U.S. Army Ordnance Munitions and Electronics Maintenance School, at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama. This course is a six week, two hundred forty hour course that teaches bomb technicians how to safely handle, identify and render safe explosives and improvised explosive devices. Team members train twice a month locally and attend other training courses throughout the year. They must recertify every three years at the Hazardous Devices School. In addition to the bomb disposal training, each member has attended and successfully completed Hazardous Material Technician training. This prepares them to work in chemical and biological environments while performing their duties. In addition to the bomb technicians, the Hazardous Devices Team is supported by two explosive detection canines from the Leon County Sheriff’s Office.
The Hazardous Devices Team conducts other activities such as Dignitary Protection, Technical Support to the SWAT Team, Public Safety Displays, Community Events and Educational Presentations. In February 2004, the Hazardous Devices Team became an Accredited Bomb Squad through the Federal Bureau of Investigations.
The Hazardous Devices Team has a lot of specialized equipment, including bomb suits, water cannons and portable x-ray systems. However, one of the most valuable and versatile pieces of equipment is the ANDROS Wolverine Robot. This robot has a variety of tools that will allow the bomb technicians to observe a suspected device and attempt to render it safe without going down range and putting their hands on it. The Wolverine robot has the capability of deploying x-ray systems, disrupters, and air/chemical monitors.