Police Lose 2 Decoy Explosives

Times Staff Writer

Two decoy explosives that were used by the Los Angeles Police Department to train bomb-sniffing dogs were discovered missing and unaccounted for during a recent inventory of bomb squad equipment, authorities announced Friday.

The two canisters contained one pound each of ammonium nitrate, a chemical that can be used to make explosives, according to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The loss of the chemicals , which were lent to the department by the FBI, is the second such security breach LAPD officials have acknowledged in a little more than a week.


Department officials ordered a full accounting of all explosive training devices March 22, when officers from the department’s K-9 explosive detection unit accidentally left behind a satchel of fuse-less pipe bombs in a terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

Like the bombs involved in that incident, the missing training aids were described as containing chemicals that are present in explosives but could not be detonated without a fuse or a blasting cap. The LAPD’s internal affairs bureau and the ATF are investigating the most recent discoveries.

“This issue is of gravest concern to me,” said Police Chief William J. Bratton. “The explosive detection K-9 unit at LAX performs a vital function. It is important that the protocols, practices and accountability systems of the unit are beyond reproach. I have directed my staff to work closely with the ATF to get this matter resolved.”

The LAX incident that triggered the inventory of bomb squad materials occurred during a training exercise. The error was compounded when a bomb-sniffing dog failed to detect the explosives left behind in Terminal 6, and an airport police officer discovered the pipe bombs. The terminal was evacuated.