Hazardous Devices Unit

Hazardous Devices Unit

Norman Police Hazardous Devices Unit

Norman Police Hazardous Devices Unit

Before 1972 the Norman Police Department had no formal “Bomb Squad”. A series of individual police officers, who possessed some military training, were responsible for incidents involving explosive devices. Jerry Neil was the first Norman Police Officer to attend the newly formed Hazardous Devices School (HDS), a joint effort between the U.S. Army and the FBI to train civilian Bomb Technicians, in Huntsville Alabama. At that time the school was three weeks long. Lonnie Keener was the next officer to attend HDS, followed by Craig Meget and then George Mauldin who made the squad a three person team after Jerry Neil left in the 1980’s.

Beginning in 1999 the “Bomb Squad” underwent some personnel changes; Clay Bolin joined the squad to replace Lonnie Keener. In 2001 David Freudiger replaced Craig Meget.

Another interesting change occurred in 2001 when the “Bomb Squad” became the Hazardous Devices Unit (HDU) after members responded to 210 anthrax calls in that year alone. No single entity within the City of Norman was prepared to handle incidents involving biological or chemical attacks with the exception of the Norman Police Bomb Squad. As our responsibilities grew, a name change was required to better identify our capabilities. The HDU was born.

In 2002, for the first time in over 10 years the squad added an additional member, John Stege, which resulted in the team’s configuration of four certified technicians. The Hazardous Devices School was now six weeks long. In 2011, Aaron Lancaster was selected as a new Technician and Captain Mark Braley was appointed as Team Commander (Executive Manager). George Mauldin retired in 2012 leaving the staffing level at five members. In 2014, John Stege will step down from HDU and two new officers, Jason Houser and Gary Schmidt, will be added to the team.

From very humble beginnings, where the tools of a Bomb Technician fit in a single briefcase, the Norman HDU now possess over 1 million dollars’ worth of equipment. One of only seven certified squads in Oklahoma, it has added three explosive detection K-9s (afforded us through our partnership with the University of Oklahoma Police Department), possesses four full-coverage bomb suits, four designated response vehicles, a robot, multiple X-ray systems, weapons systems, biological/chemical/radiological detection equipment and an 18’ command trailer.



HDU Photo