WFPD welcomes new gadget, a tactical robot

WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - Members of the Wichita Falls Police Department met up at Firehouse Subs Tuesday morning to meet their new colleague.

"The SWAT officers were at a conference and at these conferences, there are all types of equipment that they can look at so they looked at the robot," Charles Casillas, a member of the Professional Standards Unit said.

The new member is an Avatar III Tactical Robot along with an Avatar camera.

SWAT Sgt. Adam Maloney said this tool helps save lives by keeping first responders out of harm's way.

"I can take this into a building that has maybe an unknown suspect, like a burglar that might be armed," Sgt. Maloney said. "We can send it in and possibly locate it before we send the officers in there."

This new gadget can show law enforcement a 360 view.

It can navigate through different ground types, from stairs to sand, and even grass.

Sgt. Maloney said it even allows them to communicate with others.

"We've actually had to go to a house and throw in a communications box with a two-way speaker to talk to them. Well, that puts my officers in danger going up there just so we can communicate with this person,"  Sgt. Maloney said. "Now with this, I can drive it right up to the front door and use the speaker on it."

This robot would not have become a member of WFPD if it wasn't for a grant from the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation.

This is a foundation that's granted millions of dollars to hometown heroes across the country.

"The Public Safety Foundation has awarded {more than} 31 million dollars, and in Texas, they've done {more than} 2.2 million dollars,"  Thomas Densmore, the Firehouse Subs owner said.

This foundation provides life-saving equipment and educational opportunities to first responders.

All of this is thanks to generous donations by the community.

To make a donation to the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation, visit the Firehouse Subs web page. 

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