Recon robot gives deputies real time surveillance, keeps them safer

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News 12 at 11/ Tuesday, September 23, 2014

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW) -- Deputies risk their lives every day, but thanks to some new technology, now they might not have to in some situations. It's not a fly on the wall, but it is the next best thing.

"What we'd do is toss it into a structure and now we have control of where it goes," demonstrates Capt. Sharif Chochol with the Columbia County Sheriff's Office.

It's called a throwbot. It's a remote control surveillance device and the newest tool at the Columbia County Sheriff's Office.

"It's pretty durable.You're supposed to be able to throw this through a window," Capt. Chocol said.

It can be dropped from up to three stories high or thrown as far as 42 yards. While it has no legs, it's designed to go places so deputies or K-9s don't have to.

"A throwbot could be used for any application where a suspect barricades himself," Capt. Chochol explained.

It looks like a toy, but in certain situations this little recon robot could mean the difference between life or death.

"Unless we go in, we can't see what's happening. So, we can send this throwbot in there rather than putting a deputy in there to see if the subject is in there and armed," said Capt. Chochol.

In a dangerous situation the throwbot is the eyes and ears for the deputy, recording real time audio and video behind walls and closed doors.

"The more you know before you make entry always makes the deputies safer. If we don't know that a subject is in there armed, we could be potentially walking into a gunfight," he said.

That's exactly what happened this past weekend when two Monroe county deputies were shot when they responded to a domestic situation that escalated. Now one is dead. That is what Columbia County officers are hoping to avoid.

The throwbot means even more when it comes to officer safety because of where it comes from. It's a donation from the JD Paugh Memorial Foundation. Even with a $4,500 price tag, what it could do for front line deputies is priceless.

While the throwbot is worth $4,500, it was donated by the foundation at no cost. They also donated 50 portable tourniquets and are working with GRU to train in lifesaving techniques when there's significant blood loss.