Suffolk orders police robot

Published 8:16 pm Friday, June 22, 2012

Suffolk Police Department’s SWAT team will be receiving a bundle of joy soon in the form of its first robot.

The city received a grant from the Department of Homeland Security to purchase the new robot, Police Chief Thomas Bennett said.

He said the robot will be instrumental in situations such as standoffs and suspicious packages. Previously, the city has had to call upon neighboring jurisdictions when it needed a robot, he said.

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“It just gives us another tool we can use to do things a little bit safer,” he said. “It gives us the opportunity to put eyes into a situation without having to put an officer into it, initially.”

The robot is being built by Ontario-based ICOR Technology, which won a competitive bid process. It will cost $105,569.60, Bennett said.

The robot not only will allow officers to see into a situation, but also to hear, speak and touch that situation without having to send an officer into it.

According to the bid document, the machine will be have four color cameras — one each in the front and rear, one on the claw and another on the top that can rotate 360 degrees.

The robot also will have two-way radio communications so officers could, for example, talk to a suspect barricaded in a building and hear his response or other sounds.

The robot’s claw will be capable of lifting 18 pounds with the arm extended or 45 pounds with the arm retracted. It can drag 200 pounds, climb stairs, turn on a dime and travel at three different speeds. It also will be weather-resistant.

It comes with a command and control unit that will operate the robot and serve as the video output and audio input and output. It also can be connected to an external monitor.

Bennett said the police department does not yet know the expected delivery date of the robot. He expects to have a better idea of the delivery date next week.