The Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department and the Kenosha Police Department formed the Bomb Squad as a multi-jurisdictional unit in 1993. Shortly thereafter they were joined by the Kenosha Fire Department. These agencies identified the need to provide their deputies, officers and firefighters with a support unit trained to handle suspected explosive devices, suspicious packages, bomb threats and fireworks storage and disposal. Field operations began in early 1995.
Equipment & Staff
In February 1998, the sole authority of the Bomb Squad was transferred to the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department. The Sheriff’s Department provides all support to the unit and is responsible for its operational readiness and training. Personnel from the Kenosha Police Department are still an active part of this team.
1998 was also the year in which the unit was certified as a full explosive disposal unit, one of 466 accredited FBI bomb squads in the United States and one of only six accredited bomb squads in the State of Wisconsin.
Some of the equipment utilized by The Sheriff’s Bomb Squad are, a Remotec Androse F6 bomb robot, disruptors, an x-ray machine, bomb suits, an explosive storage unit and a truck. All of the bomb squad equipment has been paid for by federal grants.
The unit is made up of four members of the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department, and two members of the Kenosha Police Department. All six members of the unit have graduated from the FBI Hazardous Device School in Huntsville, Alabama, the only civilian bomb technician training school in the United States. With six bomb technicians, the bomb squad is responsible for calls in Kenosha, Racine, and Walworth Counties. All members, who are not employed by the Sheriff’s Department, are deputized by the Sheriff in order for them to act and have full authority anywhere within the boundaries of Kenosha County.
Members of the squad train an average of 24 hours a month. All members are required to attend a 1-week training course every year and attend re-certification every 3-years. Members receive training in countercharging, fireworks destruction, safe handling procedures regarding chemical and incendiary devices, Render Safe Techniques for Pipe Bombs and Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs).
Presently, the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department Bomb Squad has all members trained as Hazardous Materials Technicians under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 165.15 standard. Additionally, we have one member who has received training and is on the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) task force for clandestine methamphetamine labs. All Hazardous Devices Unit members belong to the International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators.
The unit has consulted on a bill before the Wisconsin Senate that would ban and create a law for any explosive or look alike explosive used in a criminal act.