Coeur d'Alene PD test new SWAT robot



Posted on March 12, 2014 at 6:12 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 12 at 7:00 PM

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho.--Authorities in North Idaho were breaking in a new piece of crime fighting equipment on Wednesday. Coeur d’Alene Police purchased a brand-new robot to be used by the Kootenai County SWAT team.

The department borrowed bomb-disposal robots from Spokane previously.

The robot will be used all across North Idaho. The I-Robot can be used in tiny nooks and crannies and even up stairs.

"It's always good to have an extra tool in your toolbox,” said Deputy Harvey Ballman with the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office.

The robot has four cameras and gives SWAT team members a 360 degree view of its environment. The robot has a voice feature to allow officers to talk to suspects remotely.

Officers said one of the most important features of the robot is that it goes into harms way instead of a SWAT team member.

“Everybody's got a family, everybody wants to go home at night. So any time we can lessen that risk to our operators on the team or to our patrolman, that's an excellent thing,” said Officer Nicholas Knoll with the Coeur d’Alene Police Department.

The Kootenai County SWAT team has to previously borrow robots from authorities in Spokane.

"We'd call them, then we'd have to wait for that response. Because there is some distance there. Basically be in a holding pattern until they got there,” said Knoll.

The SWAT team said they plan to loan the I-Robot to other local authorities across North Idaho when it is needed.