MARIETTA, Ohio (WTAP) – The Washington County Sheriff’s Department got the green light for a grant worth about $165,000. It will go towards robot technology for their SWAT team and a new drone.
It’s technology the Washington County Sheriff’s Department staff have had their eyes on for a while, according to Chief Deputy Mark Warden. He said the idea was pushed into action after the pipe bomb incident last year.
“With the recent incident where the individual was dropping pipe bombs on the barges on the Ohio River, we saw the need for better equipment – updating our equipment per say…,” he said.
The robot will enable law enforcement to investigate bombs or suspicious packages via remote control. It can also physically remove the object from the location and go up and down stairs.
“Instead of putting a human being in close proximity of the perceived threat or whatever that is, you can put this device in there and go in and take a look at it…,” Warden said.
Warden calls drone video invaluable. It’s used in homicide investigations, missing person cases, and more.
“We used it on the bomb incident on the Ohio River. We actually put the drone down close to the device where an individual didn’t have to get down to it,” he said.
Drones offer a perspective law enforcement traveling on the ground can’t. Plus it can get footage where law enforcement officers don’t want to go.
“…, and in some cases you don’t want humans there. I don’t want to go and contaminate the crime scene. You know, so I’m coming in on a different level,” Warden said.
The drone will also have night vision capability.
Warden said, if they have enough money left over from the grant, they plan on getting technology that gives drones unlimited power supply.
The grant money is coming from FEMA.
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