"The best part of my job is the very extensive technical knowledge. It involves a lot of science. I was a constable for several years before joining the Tactical Unit, and from there I applied to become an Explosive Technician. I have a background in construction, and my extensive knowledge of building construction and wiring made me a good candidate. The other thing they were looking for is people with the right demeanour. Obviously you have to be pretty calm and level-headed."
--Constable Grant Jongejan
Constable Grant Jongejan is an Explosive Technician with the Edmonton Police Service. "Most days I am simply a patrol constable responding to calls for service. At times we do get called out to take care of explosive events and that's when I would work as a bomb technician as opposed to a patrol constable," explains Jongejan.
We've all encountered the Hollywood cliché of the bomb tech staring into a tangled mess of wires and frantically trying to remember if it's the blue wire or the red. How real is that? "It's real, we call those Category A. Category A means life is at imminent risk - as an example, someone with a body bomb strapped to them. That's when we'd go in and deal with the bomb hands-on. However, these cases are infinitesimally rare. I can't think of a single instance in Canada where a bomb tech participated in that kind of dismantle." Typically bomb techs don't dismantle devices by hand - "it's not a good strategy and it's certainly not a best practice." So for the majority of situations, a bomb tech will approach an explosive device remotely. That's where the bomb dismantling robots come in. "The robot gives us the ability to deal with bombs remotely, rather than having a human being standing over the package."
"When we arrive on the scene where there is a bomb, the first thing we do is start an investigation. We are sometimes able to ascertain exactly what we're dealing with simply by similar fact information we've received. We'll want to speak to police personnel that have been there because they're trained witnesses and can provide us with real-time intelligence we otherwise wouldn't get. Then we develop a strategy."