Texarkana, TX SWAT has new crime fighting 'officer' - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Texarkana, TX SWAT has new crime fighting 'officer'

The Aviator 2 robot The Aviator 2 robot

The latest in crime-fighting equipment for Texarkana has been unveiled and it's all thanks to a generous donation from an Ark-La-Tex business.

Last August Bowie County and Texarkana, TX SWAT teams had to physically enter a home and get someone out of it, putting officers at risk. Now, they are hoping that procedure is a thing of the past now that they have a tactical robot to do it.

It's an Aviator 2 made by Robotics. The Texarkana, TX Police Department rolled it out to be used with the city's SWAT team.

"Instead of having to use other tactics and means in locating suspects that are barricaded or just doing surveillance inside a house we will be able to use this and reduce the risk of officer injury," said SWAT team member Dustin Thompson.

The robot will allow officers to have audio and visual communication.

"Even if you cannot physically see the robot you can view what is going on," Thompson said.

This 25-pound crime fighting machine was made possible by a $20,000 donation from Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation, which began in 2005 by owners of the restaurant chain after Hurricane Katrina.

"They saw a need to help different fire departments and other public safety entities because there is no department that doesn't need some type of equipment," said Jim Maxwell, of Firehouse Subs.

Although the Aviator 2 robot may look like an oversized toy, police say it's more than capable of doing the job.

"It is very rugged," Thompson said. "It can take it, can fall off, fall off a set of stairs onto concrete. It has got a roll cage on it to protect it."

This is the third donation the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation has made in and around Texarkana. The foundation has awarded more than $9 million nationwide.

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