South Florida

South Florida Agencies Undergo Rigorous Explosives Training

Local and state law enforcement agencies underwent rigorous explosives training this week in Homestead.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives started the week with a bang.

"Dynamite, C4, blasting caps," said Kevin Montekowski, Special Agent with ATF.

That's just the beginning of what participants encountered during ATF explosives training for law enforcement and fire rescue agencies across the state and in South Florida.

"It's a post blast investigation course, and the course provides students with the resources, the tools and the training to conduct an investigation and collect evidence after an explosive incident," explained Ari Shapira, Assistant Special Agent with ATF.

The fiery explosions, including a wall of fire, were set off at the Homestead Air Force Reserve Military Base.

"We kind of went over basic explosive components. You know, different kinds of explosives. Ones that are used in the commercial and military side," said Staff Sgt. Jason Cohen, Air Force Explosive Ordinance Disposal Flight.

The training may just be a simulation but the explosives are powerful and real. The goal is to prepare the men and women physically and mentally as they investigate explosive-related crimes.

"What we are trying to teach is how bombs are built and then what happens after the device goes off. What are some things and the evidence that you can look for and law enforcement can look for to help solve the crime," Montekowski said.

It's a tough job, but these classes are all about promoting public safety and being ready for anything in the chaos after an explosion.

"You can't put a price on preparation and the agents here are going to learn the value of teamwork, and what exactly they're looking for in terms of post blast recovery," Shapira said.

The classes ended Friday, but they run every couple months.

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