Instead of using the bomb squad’s robot, the Avatar III is the SWAT team’s first dedicated robot available to look through buildings to see what obstacles may be present.
“If I didn’t have this robot, I might have to send officers in with weapons to cover him and now we’re kind of in a serious, dangerous situation,” Kinstle said. “Or I could send the robot in, I could do a scan of the room and make sure it’s safe.”
Dayton police said the robot could be especially helpful in working with a suicidal subject. “Maybe if it’s an emotionally disturbed person then it’s not as threatening,” Kinstle said. “We can talk to them through the robot. The capabilities are enormous for our SWAT team.”
Dayton city commissioners approved the purchase at a November meeting. Funding for the robot was approved as part of Dayton police’s 2014 budget, with the funds to pay for it coming from assets seized by officers.