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Virginia Sheriffs’ Association
The Voice of Virginia’s Sheriffs & Deputies

A member of the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office joined a select few after receiving her certification as a United States Public Safety Bomb Technician from the Hazardous Devices School at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama.


Sgt. Samantha Harwood, an over 11-year-veteran of the LCSO, is the first female in the history of the agency to be certified as a bomb technician.Nationally, 1 percent to 2 percent of the over 2,700 certified bomb techs are women. The FBI’s Hazardous Devices School remains the nation’s single source of certified training for bomb technicians with the latest technologies and methods. Sgt. Harwood graduated from the school on February 16, 2018.


The training includes 6-weeks of intense training on the identification of and response strategies for suicide bombers including dialogue, lethal force and bomb removal, use of canine bomb detection units, identification of explosive devices and neutralization strategies, public safety responses to be enacted around a bomb or WMD, use of x-ray systems, robots and bomb defusing equipment, proper analysis, storage, and disposal of defused explosive devices and coordination of police, fire and bomb team personnel during a crisis incident.


Sgt. Harwood has been a member of the Loudoun County Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team since 2012.  The team is comprised of members of the LCSO and the Loudoun County Fire Marshal’s Office.