ONLY ON 3: WPD uses robot to diffuse more than bombs
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A peaceful, safe outcome to a police standoff is not an easy task, but thanks to a recent addition to the Wilmington Police Department, that has become the norm. After the department used its bomb disposal robot in two recent standoffs, we wanted to see how it worked.
Her nickname is Sheila. The robot’s main function is disposing of explosives, but Wilmington Police say she can handle almost every mission thrown her way.
Because of the dangerous work sheila and her unit are involved with, the officer we spoke with wanted to remain anonymous.
“She can pick up objects to a certain weight. She has the capability of dragging a human being out of harm’s way,” the officer who helps operate Sheila said.
She can also extend up to eight feet tall, turn 360 degrees and even shoot different types of ammunition.
All of Sheila’s movements are controlled and tracked inside a mobile command post.
“Everything that Sheila does and sees is recorded using one of her four onboard cameras,” the officer said.
She has been with the Wilmington Police Department’s Bomb Disposal Unit for a year a half. Police say she has already been a huge help.
“So far every mission that she’s been deployed in has been successful,” officer said.
That success goes beyond bombs. Sheila has assisted SWAT in negotiations during standoffs by letting officers outside talk through her to suspects and getting a look at what’s going on inside. Useful tools potentially saving the the lives of officers and suspects by leading the way in dangerous situations.
All certified bomb squads in the country have a robot, similar to Sheila. She was purchased through a state grant.
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