The State Police Explosive Disposal Unit began serving the citizens of New Hampshire in the early 1970’s and was staffed with two troopers.
The necessity for a bomb squad in the state arose after a successful bombing at the Manchester Fire Department and an attempted bombing at the police department in 1971 by members of the Jonathan Jackson/Sam Melville group, a domestic terrorist organization. There had also been a growing need for qualified personnel to dispose of old dynamite and military surplus explosives in existence across the state.
The unit received accreditation by the FBI in 1997. This insures that the unit meets national standards and qualifies the unit to receive both equipment and training from the federal government at no cost to the state. In 2005, the award of Homeland Security funding allowed for the purchase of a Total Containment Vessel and a Mobile Thermal Destruction Unit. These additions ensure the unit provides quality service and additionally provides valuable security to the unit members and the general public.
Through the years, the unit has grown in size and its mission has been greatly expanded and diversified, primarily due to the aftermath of the attack on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. The growing national concern for a potential terrorist attack involving a chemical, biological or radiological device, as well as large vehicle or suicide bombers, has created new demands on bomb squads nationwide.
The unit is also called upon to provide extensive explosives detection canine and bomb technician support to the United States Secret Service during presidential and other campaign visits to New Hampshire.
The State Police Explosives Disposal Unit is available 24 hours a day to provide assistance to all federal, state or local law enforcement agencies as well as fire departments throughout the state. Assistance may range from simple guidance to technical assistance, which includes the removal or rendering safe of an improvised device, common explosives and explosives chemicals, suspect packages, fireworks, tear gas/smoke grenades and seized or recovered ammunition.