Robot to Help in High-Threat Situations

By: James Steiner
By: James Steiner

The Reno police department has a new crime-fighting tool. It weighs more than 500 pounds and runs up to four miles an hour.

What is it?

Meet RPD's newest member of the police force.

"I don't know if he's going to be sworn in or what. We've been thinking about a name. There's different philosophies on that one, we'll see," said Jason Morgan of the Reno Police Dept.

In the meantime, officers have been going through rigorous training with their new robot. It's a $250,000 piece of equipment, very complex and there's a lot you need to know to operate it properly.

"It can pretty much do anything we can do by hand. There's very little we would have to do manually that we wouldn't send the robot in for us," Morgan said.

The robot is expected to help in many dangerous situations, such as: involving hostages, explosive devices, or suspicious packages.

The robot can have up to four cameras on it at once. They can tilt 360-degrees up down and around, so police officers can see everything around them.

The cameras can zoom in and out - allowing officers to see things at great distances without ever being in harms way. "Eventually it will save somebody's life," Morgan said. "Working over explosives or armed suspects the odds will catch up to you, better odds, better off you are."

And, yes . . . this crime fighter can carry a gun.

Police can mount anything on it from lethal weapons to non-lethal means. As long as everyone comes home safe at the end of the day, police say the robot is well worth the cost - and cleaning.

"We don't have to feed it a lot, but is hard to clean," one officer said.

Reno police say other law enforcement agencies will be able to use the robot. If the situation calls for it, RPD will send out two operators to help out.


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