Wireless Robot Helps Midland Police Fight Crime

By: Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - A robot, high tech controller and x-ray cameras may sound like any big kid's dream job. But for the Midland Police Bomb Squad - those gadgets are saving lives. In fact, some new equipment is helping officers stay safe when they're called out to a high-risk situation and making sure you're protected if they wind up in your neighborhood.

"We want to make things are un-blowupable," Midland Police Bomb Tech, Officer Dylan Hale, said. "We don't want them to go off."

That's why the MPD bomb squad practices on everything from suiting up, to tactical procedures, to operating a robot designed to roll into just about any situation.

"We're using the technical capacity with the SWAT team," Officer Hale said. "If there's a tactical incident where we can go and help them out, get eyes inside a residence or any other threat area we can do that without putting people in danger."

But now their training is a little different. Thanks to a Homeland Security grant, the robot is now going wireless. It can maneuver in and around all types of scenarios without dragging cords behind it and ultimately, that means extra protection for officers and anyone who might happen to be near their crime scene.

"We're able to do our job more effectively without being cumbered by the old system we were using which was basically being tethered to a cord," Officer Hale said.

"Sooner or later we're going to have to get in a suit and go down there depending on what it is but for the most dangerous stuff we're hoping we can use the robot," Midland Police Bomb Tech, Officer Joel Ramirez, said.

Their robot packs guns, x-rays, cameras and audio equipment capable of communicating with armed suspects.

"We've had incidents where they would rather talk to the robot than the throw phone the negotiators have and that's fine because we improvise, adapt and overcome the situation," Officer Hale said.

But this team isn't just watching out for the Tall City - they're ready to roll to any West Texas town in an emergency.

"We'll respond and roll out to help them with any kind of suspicious package or any suspicious devices they have that's a threat," Officer Hale said.

This robot will also be able to help out at the airport in case there's ever a threat onboard a plane. It's specially designed to fit down right down the aisle and peak around each seat.