Local law enforcement to get robotics for SWAT teams and new drones

Marietta, Ohio (WTAP) – The Washington County Sheriff’s Department has received a grant valued at approximately $165,000. It will develop robotics for their SWAT teams and new drones.

It’s a technology Washington County Sheriff’s Department staff have been eyeing for some time, according to Chief Lieutenant Mark Warden. He said the idea was brought to fruition after last year’s pipe bomb incident.

“Because of recent pipe bombs being dropped on barges in the Ohio River, we saw a need for better equipment — updating our equipment … ,” he said.

The robot will enable law enforcement to investigate bombs or suspicious packages via remote control. It can also physically remove objects from that location and go up and down stairs.

“You can put this device out there and go in and look at it, rather than bringing a person closer to a perceived threat or anything …” Warden said.

Prison warden says drone footage is invaluable. It is used in homicide investigations, missing persons cases, and more.

“We used it in the Ohio River bombing. We actually put the drone close to the equipment so a person doesn’t have to be near it,” he said.

Drones offer a perspective that law enforcement cannot provide on the ground. Plus, it can take footage where law enforcement officers don’t want to go.

“…, in some cases, you don’t want a human being there. I don’t want to contaminate a crime scene. You know, so I get into a different level,” Warden said.

The drone will also have night vision capabilities.

If they have enough grant money left over, they plan to acquire the technology to provide drones with an unlimited power supply, Warden said.

Grants are from FEMA.

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