The Andalusia Police Department has received some new military equipment: bomb-detecting robots -- and these gadgets are officially ready to operate throughout south Alabama.
This thing may look like a toy, but it's actually far from that. It's called an ANDROS Remotec Robot, and what it does could save your life.
Disarming a bomb or any item that could be a threat is what this gadget does. The Andalusia Police Department has received two of these ANDROS Remotec robots, giving police an alternative to combatting a dangerous situation.
"They're designed to respond to any suspicious package incident or any kind of incident that would involve a stand-off or a barricaded subject," Said a robot operator from the Andalusia Police Department, Sgt. Jason Curry.
It's equipped with multiple cameras, along with audio equipment to communicate with someone on the other side of the robot. The robot can extend about 10 feet high and has arms and claws to pick things up. They can also be operated manually or using a cable depending on the scenario.
"Even though the operator may not have to touch the device or physically be in front of where the target is the uh we can still manipulate the robot manually to facilitate that operation," Said another APD operator, Sgt. Mike Abraham.
The robots can be operated up to a half a mile away from an incident through a command center trailer.
While the robots are valued at $160,000 each, the police department received them free through a military grant.
"Getting them ready, getting them online, make sure that they're ready to go and doing a little training with them, so that they're prepared and ready to respond to an incident," Said Curry.
Andalusia Police tell Alabama News Network they'll be able to respond to 11 counties using these robots. Starting this summer they'll begin training at local schools.
In adding the new robots, the Andalusia Police Department has created an ATRO Unit, the "Advanced Tactical Robotic Operations" Unit, which consists of a team of robot operators.
The department hopes to make the robots part of the Covington County Incident Response Team in the future.