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ATF Sponsors Federal Deputization of Houston Police Department Bomb Squad.

HOUSTON, Oct. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) today deputized all full-time officers/bomb technicians of the Houston Police Department (HPD) Bomb Squad as federal agents. The action means ATF and the HPD Bomb Squad can now respond without the constraint of jurisdictional boundaries to answer the threat of improvised explosives devices and provide public security.

"We have always enjoyed an excellent working relationship with the Houston PD Bomb Squad. ATF's partnership with local law enforcement is critical to the success of both of our missions to protect the public," said ATF Houston Assistant Special Agent in Charge Robert Elder. Houston is the country's fourth largest city.

This new level of cooperation was formalized in a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between ATF and HPD. By signing the MOU, the HPD Bomb Squad, commanded by Capt. David Williams, has formally joined the ATF Arson and Explosives Task Force. The Task Force is a partnership among:
 - ATF (which includes certified explosive specialists, certified fire
 investigators, an explosive detection canine handler, and a forensic
 auditor. These agents are also members of the ATF National Response Team
 and Regional Explosive Group)
 - Houston Police Department Bomb Squad
 - Houston Fire Department Arson Division
 - Fort Bend County Fire Marshal's Office
 - Montgomery County Fire Marshal's Office (which includes an accelerant
 detection canine handler)




The mission of the Arson and Explosives Task Force is the investigation of arson and explosive incidents throughout the Houston metropolitan area and surrounding counties. Its members bring unique expertise to that mission. Due to their federal deputation, local officers and investigators can assist investigations throughout the United States, allowing leads to be pursued across local, state and federal jurisdictions.

Early members of the ATF Arson and Explosives Task Force and HPD Bomb Squad were instrumental in the development of the Advanced Explosive Destruct Techniques Course taught at the ATF National Center for Explosives Training and Research at Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia. Additionally, they cofounded the Houston Area Bomb Council back in the early 1990s. The Bomb Council remains an ATF/HPD sponsored function. ATF and the HPD Bomb Squad continue to train together with all bomb technicians from greater Houston and Corpus Christi.

ATF is the federal agency with jurisdiction for investigating bombings and other explosives incidents, enforcing the federal explosives laws, including the Safe Explosives Act, and regulating the explosives industry.

ATF's explosives jurisdiction and expertise gives it a unique role in the national effort to prevent terrorism. The bureau is one of the world's leading explosives investigators and trainers, providing that expertise to the U.S. military, State Department, and local, state and other federal law enforcement in the United States and overseas. Since 2001, ATF's National Center for Explosives Training and Research has trained almost 6,000 bomb technicians and investigators in explosive disposal and investigative techniques. ATF provides explosives training to the new Iraqi Police Service and at the International Law Enforcement Academies in Botswana, El Salvador, Hungary and Thailand. In cooperation with the U.S. Army, ATF also trains Army explosives units prior to their deployment to Iraq.
 More information on ATF and its programs is at http://www.atf.gov/.

 CONTACT: Franceska Perot, Ph.D.
 Special Agent, PIO
 (281) 372-2908 (office)
 (281) 914-8114 (cell)



Contact: Franceska Perot, Ph.D., Special Agent, PIO of Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, +1-281-372-2908, or cell, +1-281-914-8114

Web site: http://www.atf.gov/
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 10, 2006
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