History of Unit
The Bomb Squad (now EOD) was originally started by the former Chatham County Police Department in 1994 for the purposes of having a team able to respond to explosive incidents in the Chatham County area. They also assisted with securing the Summer Olympic water trials being held in Savannah that year. Under the merged Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Department, the unit grew in size. During this time a new Operations truck was obtained along with newer bomb suits and render safe tools. The unit remained a part of Savannah Police Department after the 2018 de-merger of Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police.
The Explosive Ordnance Disposal team is responsible for rendering safe suspicious packages, assisting military Explosive Ordnance Device (EOD) units with the destruction of explosive ordnance and assisting SWAT with barricaded gunman calls.
The team currently has 13 members, six of whom are certified graduates of the FBI Hazardous Device School in Huntsville, Ala., the only civilian Bomb Technician School in the United States. SPD’s EOD team has a tactical medic partnership with Southside Fire/EMS services, one of the few on the East Coast, as an additional safety measure for departmental personnel when on an incident callout or conducting explosive range demonstrations.
Being an SPD bomb technician involves, in addition to regular job assignments, a 16-hour monthly training requirement, teaching recruits at the Georgia Safety Training Center in Garden City and attending public safety functions. Candidates for the EOD Team must have at least five years with the department, have obtained their Hazmat Technician certification, and have passed a departmental physical agility test before being considered for the six-week Hazardous Devices School in Huntsville. The team maintains a working relationship with its military counterparts at Fort Stewart, Marine Corp Beaufort Airfield, and Kings Bay Naval base. Advanced training is also held with Savannah Fire and Emergency Services Haz-Mat team.
Types of equipment
The team currently has One Farber Chevrolet 35’ operations truck, a 4X4 Ford pickup truck for towing around the single vent containment vessel, and a John Deere 6X6 utility vehicle for special missions requiring rapid deployment of men and equipment. The team has two robots, a REMOTEC F6A Andros and a TALON responder. It also possesses a NABCO trailer mounted Mobile Thermal Destruction Unit (MTDU) used in the elimination/dispersal of old ammunition, drug evidence, and chemical propellants.