Bomb Squad: A Year Inside the Nation's Most Exclusive Police Unitby Richard Esposito
"In my mind it's all business; I don't worry about my family, I don't worry about a function that I'm doing after work, I just worry about what's at hand. And what's at hand is that package." --Detective First/strong>
An unprecedented behind-the-scenes look at the men who protect us from the most frightening prospect of life in the age of terrorism
"In my mind it's all business; I don't worry about my family, I don't worry about a function that I'm doing after work, I just worry about what's at hand. And what's at hand is that package." --Detective First Grade Joe Putkowski, NYPD Bomb Squad
The New York City Police Department Bomb Squad is the oldest such squad in the nation, founded in 1903. Each year its thirty-three members make more than two hundred stress-filled "bomb runs," in which they check suspicious briefcases, defuse hand grenades, and even respond to "art" projects constructed with real explosives. The public rarely sees these men--and when they do, it's usually from a distance, telephoto pictures of helmeted figures in ninety-pound suits of Kevlar armor.
Starting on December 31, 2003, in the heart of the New Year's Eve action in Times Square, journalists Richard Esposito and Ted Gerstein had exclusive access to the nation's most elite police unit for an entire year. Their often chilling, never-before-told tales from the front line provide an extraordinary view of the domestic war on terrorism.
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Read an Excerpt
By Richard Esposito Ted Gerstein
HyperionCopyright © 2007 Richard Esposito and Ted Gerstein
All right reserved.
Who Are These Guys?
1 JANUARY 1, 2004 SPRINT REPORT 1305 HOURS
BOMB SQUAD JOB #001, 2004
"UNDERNEATH WHITE AUTO-[CALLER] STS PACKAGE IS
ATTACHED TO HIS AUTO-SOMETHING-UNDERNEATH-HAS
ELECTRICAL-TAPE AROUND IT-BOMB SQUAD RESPOND TO LOC-"
Listening to the excited radio traffic, Kenny Dean and Paulie Perricone had heard enough. The two young techs had just finished up a security sweep. They notified Bomb Squad Base, tossed their gear back into their response truck, pointed it east, and headed out to Whitestone, Queens, under lights and siren. It appeared someone had rigged a homemade bomb to the undercarriage of a man's car. The new year had begun.
"We had done a marathon; worked the overnight on New Year's Eve into New Year's Day; started at three P.M., worked until seven A.M., and then began a day tour. The job came in at five minutes to two, just before we were scheduled to go off," said Perricone afterward. He and Dean, along with seven other newcomers, had joined the squad in February 2002. It had been a massive influx of new blood for such a small unit; a unit that had had less than 225 members in its first one hundred years. They had been rushed into place to bolster a squad depleted by a wave of post-9/11 retirements. "We were brand-new. On the way there I called my buddy working on Emergency Service that day, and he says to me, 'Paulie, you know that I open everything and I'm the last guy to call the Bomb Squad unnecessarily, but if I had to guess what a mercury switch looked like ... this would be it.' So we had a bit of pucker action on the way there.
"This was the first time. We were a little nervous, but Kenny and I were a little excited to have a real bomb. We shot over quick; I suited up Kenny quick- -and I wanted to have at least a picture in our hands before anybody showed up. Kenny went down and took an X-ray, and you could see a mercury switch, a battery, you could see what looked like a load. The can was packed.
"It was just as we were peeling open the X-ray that Sergeant Walsh arrived. I peeled it open and we were all 'Oh, shit, look at that.'"
The suspicious package was a Red Bull energy beverage can. The X-ray showed it was packed with match heads and attached to the car's gas line. Starting the car was supposed to trigger the switch and complete the circuit that ignited the match heads-a crude incendiary device designed to set fire to the car's fuel supply....
Excerpted from BOMB SQUAD by Richard Esposito Ted Gerstein Copyright © 2007 by Richard Esposito and Ted Gerstein. Excerpted by permission.
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Meet the Author
Richard Esposito covers Homeland Security and Criminal Justice for ABC News. He is the winner of numerous national journalism awards, including the George Polk Award for Television Reporting for his reporting on the CIA. Ted Gerstein has worked for World News Tonight and Turning Point, and for the past ten years he has been a producer for Nightline. Together the authors have reported and produced numerous in-depth Nightline reports on national security issues. Both live in Manhattan.
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