McDONALD COUNTY, Mo. — An area sheriff’s office may not have to send a deputy into a dangerous situation in order to get information. But they can still may be able to get what they need without risking a life.
Nothing is more important when it comes to dealing with certain types of dangerous situations than learning what you’re up against. When it comes to a barricade and or hostage situation, the McDonald County S.R.T. or Special Response Team might be able to learn what they need to without the need of risking the lives of team members. They can use this, new-to-them, piece of equipment compliments of the Department of Defense, to do reconnaissance for them.
“So we can make communication we can make contact with them, they have speakers, they have mics on them, they have cameras on them so we’re able to take those inside, we can see the individual, we can see if they’re barricaded, we can see if anybody or hidden bombs, booby traps, anything like that,” said Donavan Pierson, Detective, McDonald Co. Sheriff’s Office.
Pierson says the robot, nicknamed “Boomer,” was designed for, and was used in an actual war zone, so it’s able to withstand a lot of punishment and can get pretty much wherever it needs to. Boomer even has infrared vision, providing its operator with a wealth of information on how best to intervene but limiting the risk to hostages and S.R.T. members.
“So we’re able to take those in, take that risk out from our, from our operators, and still do our job the way we need, the way it needs to be done,” said Pierson.
The cost of the robot when it was brand new was $177,000. But thanks to the D.O.D.’s 1033 program, which allows local law enforcement to use robots after they’ve served their war zone responsibilities, all it cost the Sheriff’s office was for shipping.
McDonald County already had one robot, but Pierson says there’s a lot more “Boomer” can do than the existing model can.