Law Enforcement Trainer, October 2001

Bomb Countermeasures for Security Professionals, by Craig S. Gundry, CPS

Review by Tim Dees

The increased emphasis in public safety training on weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and the threat that these devices will be encountered by local law enforcement officers, makes it imperative that officers have at least a passing knowledge of the threat and the methods for coping with it. It is difficult to train in this area, because the number of trainers with the necessary scope of knowledge are few, and the wide range of devices and materials involved make them expensive and sometimes hazardous to present. A CD-ROM package called Bomb Countermeasures for Security Professionals, version 2.0 provides an excellent overview of this topic, and one that can be presented at a time and place of the user’s choosing.

I reviewed the first edition of this program in 2000, and it was an excellent resource then. The new version is not just a rehash of the old – it has been thoroughly updated, and contains even more information than the original. The new version also includes some resources for instructors by which they can test and measure the effectiveness of the program and the information retained by the student.

The CD-ROM is very simple to use. Once the program is opened, spoken word and visual cues guide the user through the program. Every screen contains graphic images illustrating the material, and many have keys to go into greater detail on individual subjects. For instance, in the first lesson, called "Introduction to the Threat," there is a timeline of bombing incidents throughout history. Major incidents have a button that, when clicked, takes the user to an in-depth account of that event. This theme is carried on throughout the program, so that a student can get as much information as they are likely to want from a single resource.

At the end of each lesson (which can take anywhere from 15 minutes upward to complete, depending on how many of the "side trips" the student takes by clicking on the supplementary information buttons), the user can take a self-directed multiple choice quiz with instant feedback. Both correct and incorrect answers are explained with specific details. There is also a comprehensive test that covers the entire program, with an answer key. Supplemental materials are available from the publisher’s web site.

Lessons include characteristics of devices, security planning, search methods, defenses against courier, mail, anti-vehicle and WMD bombs, blast mitigation design, and post-blast procedures. Short of attending a bomb technician training course, this resource will provide all of the information that a line public safety officer is likely to need to manage an incident until the experts arrive.

Minimum requirements to run the program include a Pentium computer with 16 MB of RAM, a 4X CD-ROM drive, a 16-but color monitor, sound capability, and Windows 95 or later. Just about any computer currently in use that is capable of running a version of the Windows operating system is likely to meet these requirements. The user interface is point-and-click, and even the most technophobic user should be able to handle it.

Bio Note: Tim Dees is a former police officer who writes and consults about applications of technology in law enforcement.



Bomb Countermeasures
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