Muscogee Co. Bomb Squad tests out $65,000 robot

By Taylor Barnhill  - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -  The Muscogee County Bomb Squad has an addition to its team that will help them respond better to emergencies. News Leader Nine sat in while the Sheriff's Department trained with their brand new robot.

Lt. Brad Hicks, the Director of Homeland Security explained, "It's going to enable the Columbus, Georgia Hazard Response Team to actually respond effectively to multiple situations throughout the city. Whether it's a bomb squad call, or a S.W.A.T. response for a barricaded subject or a hostage situation."

The new robot is smaller and weighs only 200 pounds, less than half as much as the department's existing technology.

Hicks said, "It's man portable, two-man portable, and we can get it in tighter places."

A specialist from the company who makes the robot is in Columbus to help with training and prepare the bomb squad to use the machine in real life situations.

"It's like driving a new car. You get in, take it slow, take turns different, climb stairs different. You have to find the sweet spots on the robot to turn and climb," added Lt. Hicks.

Although it will take a few more days to be fully trained on the technology, Lt. Hicks says the robot is fully prepared to start work immediately, "It's ready to go now. I feel confident in the bomb tech's abilities to operate this robot, that if we got called right now, we'd deploy."

The $65,000 robot was made possible by a Georgia grant for the Muscogee County Sheriff's Department. The bomb squad will still use their existing robot for calls, this new one will just help in certain situations.

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