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Police Bureau

Sworn to protect. Dedicated to serve.

Phone: 503-823-0000

Fax: 503-823-0342

Non-Emergency: 503-823-3333

1111 S.W. 2nd Avenue, Portland, OR 97204

0740.00 Explosive Device Incidents and EDU



  • ORS 166.382  Possession of Destructive Device Prohibited; Exceptions
  • ORS 166.384  Unlawful Manufacture of Destructive Device
  • ORS 166.385  Possession of Hoax Destructive Device
  • City Code Title 14A.60.040
  • DIR 741.00  Chemical and Biological Agents/Weapons


POLICY (740.00)

The Bureau will immediately respond on calls of bomb threats and suspected explosive devices using the following procedures in order to protect the lives of citizens, protect the lives of members and protect property.

PROCEDURE (740.00)

Directive Specific Definitions

Major post-blast: A blast scene where there is injury and/or major property damage. Major post-blast scenes will be treated as a major crime scene.

Minor post-blast: A blast scene where there is only slight damage to property, (i.e., vandalism by explosive).

Bomb Threats (740.00)

a.  Any member who receives information pertaining to a bomb threat will immediately notify the Bureau of Emergency Communications (BOEC) and a supervisor. If the member receiving the threat is in the building or location that is the target of the threat, communication will be by landline telephone, as radio broadcasts may interfere with explosive devices.

b.  If possible, members will obtain the following information:

1.  The specific address and/or building location or name, floor, room number and location in the room the device has been placed.

2.  The type of bomb, its physical description and/or container.

3.  The time the device will detonate.

4.  The reason the device was placed (motivation).

5.  The individual or group claiming responsibility.

c.  BOEC will dispatch, by radio, a district car and detail sergeant or other supervisor to the location of the threat. BOEC will advise the nature of the call using appropriate radio codes (33B). In all calls involving bomb threats, a supervisor will respond to the scene.

d.  Responders will use only hand-held radios within 100 feet of these calls (one block). Turn off all other devices (car radio, MDC, and cellular phones; pagers that receive only are okay).

1.  If a device has been located, do not transmit within 100 feet or until told to do so by an Explosive Disposal Unit (EDU) member.

2.  If members are there in response to a bomb threat, turn off pack set until the immediate area has been searched. Never search an area with the radio on.

3.  If  you  must  transmit,  move  to  an  area  that  has  already  been searched.

4.  If you are in a high-rise structure, move up or down at least two floors from the target floor to an exterior wall by a window before transmitting.

e.  Members and supervisors will assist the person in charge of the targeted location in evaluating the bomb threat for validity and need for further action. Some of the factors to consider are specifics of the threat, nature of targeted location, time of detonation, physical access to the site, and current events at the location.

f.   The person in charge of the targeted location will have the responsibility to determine if a search is to be conducted.

g.  Members will assist in the organization and search of a building/premise if requested.

h.  Members will complete a written report detailing the threat and subsequent police actions. If information supports an investigation, the report will be forwarded to Detective Division Arson Detail for follow-up.

Suspected Explosive Devices and/or Known Explosives (740.00)

a.  If a suspected or actual explosive device is located, members will clear the immediate and adjacent areas. Members should move at least 100 feet from the suspected device before turning on any radio communication equipment (hand-held radio, car radio, cell phone, etc.) and notifying BOEC. Hand-held radios generate less radio energy, therefore they should be used for all on-scene communications.

b.  Members will not touch or move any suspected device.

c.  Once an area is clear of civilians, members should retreat to an area of substantial cover.

d.  EDU will assume command of the scene upon their arrival and until the area is declared safe to enter.

Evacuation Decision (740.00)

a.  When a threat is received by any facility, building and/or premise, public or private, the decision to evacuate is the responsibility of the person in charge of that facility, building or premises. In multi-tenant buildings where an evacuation has been undertaken, members will ensure all tenants are aware an evacuation is occurring.

b.  In the event a suspect device is found, the ranking member on the scene, or EDU member, will secure the area and start an evacuation of the immediate and adjacent areas.

c.  Do not route evacuating personnel by or near a suspected explosive device. Keep all persons away from glass windows and doors. Once civilians have been moved away from the suspected device(s), the ranking member will also ensure public safety personnel have moved to a location that provides substantial hard cover while allowing members to keep a secure perimeter.

Post-Blast Procedures (740.00)

a.  Minor post-blasts that involve slight damage may be handled by the assigned responding officer following a telephone conversation with EDU (i.e., small explosions by plastic bottle bombs or fireworks). All pipe bomb blasts will be investigated by EDU in conjunction with a fire investigator.

b.  Where there is injury and/or major property damage, members will treat this as a major crime scene. Because of the possibility of a secondary explosion, members will ensure that once the injured person(s) is removed, all public safety personnel move away from the blast scene to a location that provides substantial hard cover. EDU and the Arson detective will be notified immediately.

c.  EDU will assume command of the scene on their arrival and until the area is declared safe to enter. They will provide technical assistance to the Detective Division (Detectives) in processing the scene.

d.  Detectives will be responsible for the follow-up investigation.

Activation of EDU (740.00)

a.  Request that BOEC activate EDU. Members should be prepared to give BOEC a brief description of the suspected device and location of a safe staging area for EDU and, if feasible, a callback phone number for EDU.

b.  EDU will be activated in the following circumstances:

1.  When in the course of a search, pursuant to a bomb threat, a suspicious object is discovered and there is any possibility that it is an explosive or incendiary device.

2.  When any explosive, explosive chemical, or ordnance is discovered abandoned, illegally possessed, or voluntarily surrendered (including ammunition .50 caliber or larger).

3.  When large quantities of illegal fireworks are discovered or seized.

4.  When an explosive or incendiary device has detonated.

5.  If a member intends to charge or arrest an individual with possession or manufacture of a destructive device under ORS or City Code Title 14A.60.040 Possession of Explosives or Bottle Bombs.

Responsibilities (740.00)

a.  Patrol members/sergeants.

1.  Provide initial response to scene where explosives or a suspected device has been discovered.

2.  Provide initial evaluation of bomb threats and/or decision to evacuate.

3.  Provide a safe approach and work area for EDU.

b.  BOEC.

1.  Notify the EDU sergeant of any bomb threat directed against any facility, public or private, and notify an EDU sergeant of any found suspected explosive devices.

2.  Forward requests from outside agencies to the EDU sergeant.

3.  Notify Detectives of any major post-blast incidents.

c.  Explosive Disposal Unit.

1.  Respond when activated.

2.  Render safe explosives, explosive chemicals, and hazardous devices.

3.  Process minor post-blast scenes in conjunction with fire investigators.

4.  Process major post-blast scenes in conjunction with Detectives (Arson).

5.  The authority to decide how or if a bomb, hazardous device or explosive is to be rendered safe rests solely with the EDU technician.

d.  EDU Sergeant.

1.  Coordinate and assign EDU and Metropolitan Explosive Disposal Unit (MEDU) members to calls for EDU services.

2.  Coordinate follow-up investigations with the Arson detective.

e.  EDU Commander.

1.  Obtain permission from the Operations Branch chief for operation outside of the MEDU jurisdiction or 50 miles from Central Precinct.

2.  Advise the Operations Branch chief and the precinct commander of the occurrence of any event of significance, and any event that indicates terrorist activity.

f.   Detectives.

1.  Secure the scene.

2.  Provide follow-up investigations, and evidence control in major post-blast investigations.

Assignments (740.00)

EDU members not regularly assigned to the Tactical Operations Division (TOD) will be assigned to TOD while responding to calls for service involving explosives, bombs, hazardous devices, explosive chemicals, and training. Likewise, members of the MEDU will be assigned to TOD for the duration of the call or training.