Agreement between FBI, Columbia Police and Fire departments approved

Tuesday, February 16, 2010 | 12:01 a.m. CST

COLUMBIA — The FBI will now aid the Columbia Police and Fire departments in handling bomb-related incidents in Columbia, according to an ordinance passed by the Columbia City Council on Monday.

The ordinance creates a collaboration between the FBI and the Columbia Police and Fire departments and other local police and fire departments in situations involving explosive devices. Now, the Mid-Missouri bomb squad, made up of members of the Columbia Police and Fire departments, the MU Police Department, and the Boone County Sheriff’s Department, handles bomb and explosive calls in Columbia.

The agreement means that if the FBI needs Columbia Fire Department personnel or resources, they're at the agency's disposal — and vice versa, said Battalion Chief Jim Weaver of the Columbia Fire Department. The agreement also provides for cross-training exercises between the FBI and the other agencies.

Weaver said it was too soon to say whether the agreement would result in cost savings for the city.

The bomb squad is made up of Weaver, Sgt. Chris Groves of the MU Police Department, and Officer Corey Bowden of the Columbia Police Department. A trained person from the Boone County Sheriff’s Department will also join the squad eventually, Weaver said.

The Mid-Missouri bomb squad was established in July 2008 after the Boone County Fire Protection District's bomb squad lost its FBI certification in April of that year, according to previous reporting by the Missourian.

The other agencies participating in the agreement are the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the police departments in Kansas City, Independence and Lee’s Summit, and the Springfield Fire Department.

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