ATF holds post-blast investigation training in Calera

Published: Oct. 25, 2022 at 8:10 PM CDT
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CALERA, Ala. (WBRC) - It’s not something we ever want to think about, but training on explosions and bombings is something officers have to do as part of keeping us safe.

Instructors and students from across the state gathered in Calera this week for a five-day training session.

Police and first responders are learning how to approach and investigate a bombing, or a post-blast investigation.

Officers said if they can recognize what might have happened and know how to begin processing the scene, then that gives them a huge advantage on how to respond.

Although the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) specializes in post-blast investigations, they are not the first ones on the scene.

It’s crucial that law enforcement officers understand the aspects of conducting this type of investigation.

Instructors from the ATF, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency and Montgomery Police Department bomb squads came out to teach the Calera and Birmingham police departments, as well as explosive detective K-9 handlers and prosecutors from the US Attorneys’ office.

Phil Whitley, explosive enforcement officer for ATF, said they have field deliverable courses like this one.

“Where we come out to the field and deliver them, we try to do at least one per year in every area,” Whitley said. “There is a constant turnover of new officers coming onto the force and other officers retiring, so to keep their level of competency up to date we try to go on a regular basis.”

Whitley said the most important part of the class is safety and recognizing the event.

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