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Watch Alabama police detonate a bomb for explosives training

Calera Police Department, Alabama Law Enforcement Agency and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives identifying homemade explosives and bomb making materials. (Contributed/Carol Robinson/al.com/TNS)

Dozens of law enforcement officers from around Alabama converged in Shelby County Friday for explosives training.

The Calera Police Department, in conjunction with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, hosted 60 officers from 22 agencies for instruction on identifying homemade explosives and bomb making materials. It was held at the Shelby County Emergency Management Agency Training Facility in Calera.

The instruction was provided by The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s Office for Bomb Prevention.

According to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s Office for Bomb Prevention, there was a 70 percent increase in domestic bombings in 2020. The agency also said:

• According to the United States Bomb Data Center Explosives Incident Report compiled by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), more than 12,000 explosive-related incidents occurred in 2020.

• More than 250,000 point-of-sale businesses in the U.S. sell, use, or distribute materials that can be used to build bombs.

• Office for Bombing Prevention’s training programs have equipped over 100,000 participants ranging from law enforcement, fire departments, public safety officials, major corporations, and high-profile agencies with the tools they need to counter- IED threats.

• Security planning efforts by the Office for Bombing Prevention have taken place in more than 100 major U.S. cities.

Caleria Police Chief and retired ATF supervisor David Hyche said the training will better equip first responders to identify explosive pre-curser chemicals and components, and also know exactly who to call for help when needed.

“Many Alabama officers think that it will never happen to them but Just weeks ago, the Calera PD recovered two Improvised Explosive Devices during a DUI stop,’’ Hyche said.

“I doubt that the officers who responded to the mass shooting at Columbine ever expected to have to deal with active shooters or multiple Improvised Explosive Devices of various types,’’ he said. “Training leads to greater confidence. Confidence leads to faster more accurate decisions. Faster decisions save lives.”

The instruction on the bomb-making materials included case studies as the Boston Marathon bombing.

ATF and the ALEA Bomb Squad also conducted an explosives demonstration with examples of military, commercial and homemade explosives.

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