Homeland Security Bomb Squad Unit
Bomb Squad Unit
Bomb Squad Truck

The Bomb Squad has a full-sized response vehicle capable of fielding the entire squad with all available equipment. This includes the new REMOTEC ANDROS F-6A robotics platform and accessories. The truck is designed to allow the Bomb Squad to operate for an extended period of time and has many capabilities and equipment available.

Much of the equipment used in explosive ordinance disposal operations have been upgraded and increased the range and capabilities of the bomb technicians at the scene. Upgraded environmental monitoring, equipment access, equipment deployment, technological improvements in x-ray processing and remote operations has vastly improved the capabilities and speed with which technicians can identify and mitigate explosive hazards. Multiple classified and sensitive equipment systems and capabilities are available to the technicians. Many of the “hands on” approaches traditionally applied are now accomplished remotely.

Members of the squad are graduates of the FBI Hazardous Devices School, are certified Hazardous Materials Technicians, are trained in weapons of mass destruction, advanced explosive disposal operations and threat mitigation from various federal agencies.

The Des Moines Bomb Squad is part of Iowa’s Bomb Squad Task Force program, and as such, may be deployed to calls anywhere within the State of Iowa.

Explosive Detection K-9
Explosive Detection K-9 squad

The Des Moines International Airport, Des Moines Police Department, and the Polk County Sheriff’s Office are using explosive sniffing dogs to serve on the front line of America’s War on Terrorism. The mobility of the K-9 teams is an advantage over fixed detector units. They identify dangerous materials threatening airport/airline safety and assist in the early detection of dangerous materials in vehicles, structures, or packages.

After ten weeks of training by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the dogs are deployed to law enforcement agencies. The officer adopts the dogs (24 hours a day, seven days a week) and will be the only one to feed the dog to build rapport and obedience. An additional eight weeks of local training involves the presentation of 20 distinct odors and how to move and interact with the dog.

Training for the dogs costs approximately $20,000 compared to the $1 million for a detection machine. Labrador Retrievers are generally used because of their innate skills. Many dogs come from a guide dog background, are two to three years of age and can be utilized up to 7-9 years of service. The program is turning out 100-150 trained dogs per year all over the United States and in 16 other countries. 

Remotec Andros F-6A “Frank”
Remotec Andros F-6A “Frank”

The Des Moines Bomb Squad’s robot is named after the first Des Moines Bomb Technician, Frank Murray who created the squad in 1971.

The Remotec Andros F-6A is a multi-function robotics platform designed to keep bomb technicians out of harms way by remotely accessing and dealing with potentially dangerous items.

The robot has the ability to traverse all sorts of terrain, manipulate objects with its robotic arm, and can sample potentially contaminated areas. Not only is “Frank” used by the Bomb Squad, but can be used by Metro S.T.A.R. as a surveillance platform during tactical operations or by Des Moines Fire Department’s Hazardous Materials Team to survey a hazardous atmosphere.