Mercy College Opens Their Doors to the NYPD Bomb Squad


With recent bomb threats to cities nearby, including Yonkers and New York City, learning about bomb threat procedures can be life-saving. Students Nadine Ebe Ntonga ‘23 and Adriana Romano ‘23 learned these procedures and the importance of law. 

The NYPD Bomb Squad presented at Mercy College to answer questions about their work and demonstrate their equipment in March, said Prof. Antonio J. Cruz.

The presentation was part of a lesson in the Intro to the Criminal Justice System course.

Cruz said, “One unique feature of the curriculum at Mercy College is that students are allowed to take criminal justice classes without being a criminal justice major. This helps students get a different view of issues that affect the world today.”

Ebe Ntonga is a business major taking the criminal justice course as an elective. However, Cruz has helped her realize the significance of the criminal justice system, especially with what she learned from the presentation.

According to Ebe Ntonga, she learned about different kinds of bombs, that bombers create bombs based on their creativity and resources, the ways to escape major damages if ever faced by a bomb, and more about the cute service dogs.

She was even able to put on the squad’s gear. “But I think for me the most important thing that I learned is ‘if you can see the bomb, the bomb can see you.’”

She added, “I am so grateful I got to learn so many useful things that can potentially save my life or someone else’s life.”

‘if you can see the bomb the bomb can see you.’

— Nadine Ebe Ntonga


Her classmate who also attended the presentation Romano is taking the course as an elective for Communication Studies. She would highly recommend the course to anybody who needs an elective. However, she said regarding the presentation, “Even if it was outside of class, I’d go because he (Professor Cruz) has a lot of different connections with lawyers and police but he’s like the nicest dude.”

Cruz is rather new to the Mercy faculty. He started as a transit police officer specializing in plainclothes crime reduction and plainclothes graffiti/vandalism investigations. Later, he was a sergeant specializing in burglary investigations and gang suppression efforts.

He supervised school safety operations and gang investigations and then retired from the NYPD to transition into the correction side of law enforcement as a Deputy Director and Deputy Commissioner specializing in internal investigations and gang investigations. Lastly, most recently he served as the Deputy Undersheriff at the Nassau County Sheriff’s Department, overseeing all agency investigative operations and the canine program.  

He now shares his extensive knowledge and his connections from the positions he served with his students.

 “It would be selfish to not share my vast experience with individuals that are going to be the future practitioners and future contributors to the workplace.”

“It would be selfish to not share my vast experience with individuals that are going to be the future practitioners and future contributors to the workplace.” 

— Professor Cruz

The presentation also taught students about explosive detection canines named Socha named after deceased NYPD Bomb Squad Detective Ferdinard Socha who was killed while attempting to disarm a bomb at the 1939 World’s Fair, according to Cruz. The crime is still unsolved. Romano learned more about the squad and what they went through after 9/11 when things changed with the bomb squad. She also learned about different types of explosives and the difference between ones made now and in the past.

However, her favorite part was getting to pet the squad’s dogs.

“By far the best part!” she laughed. 

Despite the intimidation of the NYPD Bomb Squad, Romano felt comfortable asking questions to the nice, respectful group of officers. She even recalled looking around the room and seeing everyone in awe from being so interested in the presentation. 

Since the presentation, Romano has joked with Professor Cruz, asking, “Any more guests?”

The answer is yes.

For the end of the spring semester, Professor Cruz has plans to bring in someone from NYPD Computer Crimes, NYS Environmental Police, and an author on leadership who is a retired NYC Corrections Chief and Nassau County Undersheriff.

He does this because he feels that Mercy College has some energetic young students who are  eager to learn.

“I feel committed to their future success and in helping to make them great future practitioners and great contributors to a better world!”