2011-09-01 / Local & State

Robot Newest Addition To Scranton Police Force

By Denis J. O’Malley
THE (SCRANTON) TIMES TRIBUNE

SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) – The Scranton Police Department’s newest officer is a cold, heartless crime fighter.

It is also a robot.

The department unveiled its $300,000 Andros F6B robot – which was paid for with grant money secured through the Northeast Pennsylvania Regional Counterterrorism Task Force – on Wednesday behind police headquarters.

The F6B model replaces the department’s previous robot, which will be returned to the task force for use as a hazardous materials robot, Scranton police Detective Sgt. Robert Martin said.

Six to seven officers began maintenance training with the robot Wednesday and will start training on operations today, Sgt. Martin said.

The officers will be trained as support personnel who can operate the robot along with one of the department’s bomb technicians, Sgt. Martin said, and the new piece of equipment can do much more than its predecessor.

Ultimately, the robot’s role is to intervene in cases where possible explosives need to be recovered - a product of global terrorism, Detective Sgt. Martin said.

“That seems to be the preferred weapon of the terrorists - they use explosives,’’ he said.

But should a situation arise where an officer or citizen is stranded in an area too dangerous for human intervention - whether it be the middle of a fire fight or in an area of hazardous materials - the robot has the strength and functional capability to pull a body out to safety, Detective Sgt. Martin said.

Kim Tipton, a repair manager for Remotec, the company that manufactured the robot, called it “the most versatile unit that we offer.’’

“You can get it into lots of different situations,’’ she said.

The robot can also climb up 45 degree inclines, pull a trailer and extend its arm out six feet, all while monitoring any situation with its five cameras, Ms. Tipton said.

And when the day is done, all the unit needs is a spray with a power washer before it’s good as new.

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