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Teaming Up for Law Enforcement Robotics

NCJ Number
248398
Date Published
October 2014
Author(s)
Michele Coppola
Agencies
NIJ-Sponsored
Annotation
This article describes how an Oregon sheriff’s office has taken a unique team approach in maintaining and deploying robots, extending their use to support routine patrol searches and K-9 units.
Abstract
Established in 2008, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office (Oregon) Remotely Operated Vehicle Team (ROVT) has expanded to include nine members and five robots. In order to qualify for the team, an officer must have at least 3 years of law enforcement experience. Team responsibilities are secondary assignments in addition to regular duties. The team uses two small, lightweight, throwable, wirelessly controlled robotic cameras. Weighing just over one pound and noiseless, they can be thrown into a building and stealthily provide video/audio reconnaissance. The team also has two rugged, water-resistant, micro-tactical robots that wiegh about 24 pounds. They have pan/tilt/zoom cameras and can climb stairs, move over loose clothing, right themselves, and transmit video/audio. The team’s largest robot, which weighs about 225 pounds, transmits video/audio and has a manipulator arm. It can be used to open doors and push furniture around if necessary. The two micro-tactical robots, which are carried in the patrol cars, provide a rapid way to get a first look at an incident. They are also used in a program that trains K-9s to work with robots. All robot team members perform their usual duties and respond to situations that require the robots and the team’s expertise as needed.
Date Created: October 6, 2014