Sheriff's Department Gets New Robots

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ROCKFORD (WIFR) – Tracking down suspects can put police officers in some very dangerous situations, but now police are able to use some new tools designed to help keep them and us safe.

The Robotech Avatar Two can virtually go anywhere, including upstairs, through grass and rocky terrain, and even under water. It’s one of two new additions to the Winnebago County bomb squad’s arsenal and officers say it could save lives.

“We can literally clear an entire building now of any overt threats without ever sending an officer in there.”
The robot is equipped with a 360 degree camera and microphone, giving officers eyes and ears inside dangerous areas.

“We can look for booby traps, we can look for obvious threats and things like that and like I said earlier, I’d rather lose a robot than one of our officers,” said Deputy Chief Scott Meyers.

The Sheriff’s Department’s other new robot, called the Throwbot XT, is thrown by a member of either the swat team or bomb squad and helps them get a good idea of what they’re working with. The Throwbot also has a camera and can go down stairs, and through rough terrain. Officers used the throwbot last week during a bomb scare in Loves Park. They sent it into the basement for surveillance. Luckily in that case, there was no bomb, but if there is one, officers send in its older robot, the X-68 to destroy it.

Deputies say having these two new robots gives them added sense of security in some of the most dangerous situations.

The two new robots cost about $40,000. The county paid for them with money from drug seizures, so no tax payer dollars were used to get them.

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