Robots Used Locally for Police Surveillance

When the suspect in last week’s fatal killing of five police officers in Dallas was killed by an explosive strapped to a remote-controlled robot, its use prompted scrutiny in the national media.

The incident has raised questions about indirect lethal encounters with police in a national moment heightened by interest in — and criticism of — how and when police use force, and how they use technology.

Central Oregon law enforcement agencies do have robots, but the one the Bend Police Department uses is more like a remote-controlled camera and less like the robot deployed in Dallas last week. The device is used to assess tactical situations in a way that minimizes risk to officers, police say.

Bend Police Lt. Kurt Koester declined to identify or discuss recent situations in which the robot had been used, saying they were in the court process. He said generally the robot could be used to grasp the floor plan of a building and to determine access points.

About six years ago, the Bend Police Department and the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office purchased tactical robots.

The police department uses its robot for the operations of the Central Oregon Emergency Response Team, a regional SWAT team, while the sheriff’s office uses its robot for its Special Operations Team, which is also a SWAT-type team equipped to respond to incidents in the jail as well as outside of it.  Read More…..

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