History and Overview
The primary mission of the Bomb Squad is to ensure the safety and well being of the members of the City’s diverse communities as well as the safety of all public safety personnel who may be first responders to an explosive-related incident. The LAPD Bomb Squad has been serving the residents of Los Angeles since 1950. They are comprised of 28 highly trained bomb technicians and five explosive detection canines. The Bomb Squad averages approximately 500 calls for service per year . They are responsible for the handling, transportation and rendering safe of all explosive items located within the City. If a suspicious item is found, call 9-1-1 immediately to request assistance and clear the area. Do not attempt to move or open the suspected item under any circumstances.
In 1950, Police Officer DeWayne Wolfer, assigned to Scientific Investigation Division (SID) was probably the first officer on the Department recognized as an explosive expert. He responded to calls from officers in the field when a possible explosive device was found. Eventually 12 officers were assigned to the Firearms and Explosives Section of SID.
In 1973, officers began receiving formal explosives training at the newly established FBI Hazardous Devices School at Redstone Army Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama.
On May 4th, 1988, the LAPD Bomb Squad received the Police Meritorious Unit Citation for assisting SWAT in an explosive breech which resulted in the successful rescue of a hostage from a barricaded suspect.
In October 1990, the LAPD Bomb Squad rendered safe the largest large vehicle bomb in US history at that time, which was parked in front of the IRS building in west Los Angeles.
In 1991, the Explosives Section was separated from the Firearms Section and became a full-time Bomb Squad.
Since May 2003, the Bomb Squad has been working under Counter Terrorism and Criminal Intelligence Bureau, Emergency Services Division.
McCree Ball Foundation
On February 8, 1986, Detective Arleigh McCree and Police Officer Ronald Ball, LAPD Bomb Squad, responded to a bomb call in North Hollywood Division. While attempting to dismantle a pipe bomb, an explosion occurred fatally injuring both bomb technicians. These two officers were expert bomb technicians who had contributed extensively to the research and development of numerous techniques for dealing with bombs that are still being utilized throughout the world today.
After the untimely deaths of their husbands, Edie McCree and Ann Ball established a non-profit memorial fund in honor of Arleigh and Ron. The purpose of the Memorial Fund is to supplement the Los Angeles Police Department’s efforts in providing equipment and to assist in research and training for personnel assigned to the LAPD Bomb Squad.
If you are interested in donating to this nonprofit Memorial Fund, please call 213-485-7474. Your contributions are tax deductible. The members of the LAPD Bomb Squad would like to thank you for your consideration and assistance.
The Bomb Squad has maintained an aggressive research and development program to develop new tools, equipment, and procedures to render explosive devices safe. Civilian and military Bomb Squads throughout the world use the tools and procedures developed by the LAPD Bomb Squad. This equipment and technology has saved the lives of several bomb technicians while they worked on explosive devices.
The Bomb Squad is continually striving to improve the quality of its contacts with the community, as well as with police and fire department personnel at the scene of an explosive related call. The Bomb Squad is dedicated to enhancing public safety at the scene of any incident involving explosives. A recent increase of terrorist bombings has generated an increase in public awareness and the need for quality equipment and training to match these new threats. The Bomb Squad has set specific goals designed to promote not only the safety of police personnel but of the public at large in dealing with explosive devices and bombings.
Calls For Service
Today, the Bomb Squad has 28 full-time Bomb Technicians who respond to all explosive-related incidents throughout the City. The Bomb Squad maintains an on-call team to respond to calls 24-hours a day. Each Bomb Technician carries essential equipment including the bomb suit, x-ray, bomb blanket and other special tools. This equipment is required to handle the variety of explosive-related incidents.