Public Safety Bomb Squads across the country routinely face funding cuts and personnel shortages. While this is hardly a new development, the COVID pandemic has certainly compounded these issues and has forced squads to make some hard cuts and shift priorities. Unfortunately, when the workload increases and resources are reduced, the proper training of our first responders becomes less of a priority. The result is a dramatic increase in the risk to the bomb tech and the public. It cannot be overstated that training is one of the most important priorities for a bomb squad. Effective training is high quality, goal orientated with a logical progression. Time spent on training must be focused on the realistic threats we face, and the procedures used to counter these threats. EOD/Bomb technicians take a very analytical approach when responding to a threat. This is not only highly encouraged, but a necessary skillset to be successful in our field. Unfortunately, it can have the adverse effect of the tech falling into the “What if?” trap. In other words, focusing solely on the possible instead of the probable. In many cases, we have lost sight of some of our most basic, crucial skills. A prime example of this is threat assessment. All EOD/bomb techs have heard the term threat assessment, but very few understand it and even fewer use it. From HDS to advanced training courses, the term threat assessment is thrown around often, but rarely does the subject get the attention it deserves. Threat assessment is a vitally important core skill, and every operator should be able to apply it to every aspect of an operation. So, what is threat assessment and how does it apply in the EOD/Public Safety Bomb Tech (PSBT) world?
In short, threat assessment is the foundation for your operational planning. It’s a determination based on facts, not assumptions. It’s probable vs possible and it’s the world all EOD/bomb techs should be operating in. The central goal of threat assessment is…
Special Agent in Charge
Georgia Bureau of Investigation (Retired)
Mr. Clayton began his career with the GBI in 1991 as a Narcotics Agent conducting undercover operations. From 1994 to 2001 he served as Special Agent in a regional field office investigating violent crimes and later as the Basic Agent Training Coordinator at the GBI Training Unit. During his time as a Special Agent, he served as counter sniper on the State SWAT Team and a firearms instructor. In 2001 he became a part-time member of the bomb squad and later that year was promoted to Assistant Special Agent in Charge. In 2006 he transferred to the Special Operations Unit (SOU) as full-time bomb technician and Assistant Commander. He was promoted to Special Agent in Charge of the unit and bomb squad commander in 2008. During his time as commander, he served on the National Bomb Squad Commanders Advisory Board Tactical Bomb Tech subcommittee and as Assistant Commander of the GBI Special Enforcement Tactical Team. Mr. Clayton continues to serve the bomb tech and EOD community as a member of the Point One Team. He joined the company in January of 2020 as a senior instructor and the Law Enforcement Training Manager.