NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Specialized robots can mean the difference between life and death, especially when they are being used during volatile situations.
“It is very important because it keeps us from sending troopers into harm’s way,” explained Sgt. Michael Cummins, with the Tennessee Highway Patrol Special Operations. “If we can use the remote and do it remotely, that is the way we prefer to do things.”
THP currently has three robots they use to dispose explosives and during tactical situations.
A smaller, mini ANDROS-II that weighs about 225 pounds, a bigger F6A that weighs about 485 pounds and the largest robot is a Mark VA1.
Authorities told News 2 even their smallest robot can help save a life.
“A lot of time, the mission dictates the robot we use,” said Cummins.
Just last week, the Dallas Police Department used a similar robot to stop Micah Xavier Johnson, the gunman who killed 5 police officers and injured many other during a shooting.
THP said it has not had to use their robots for these types of situations.
“For tactical situations, we use it for hostage negotiations, it’s equipped with a microphone and speaker system,” said Cummins. “So we are able to go up to the dwelling or whatever it is instead of sending a man or woman up there we can send a robot.”
Not just anyone can maneuver these specialized robots and officers tasked with controlling the robots have to train on a monthly basis.
“A lot of training is involved and a big part of the training is using the robot where they teach you the ins and outs of the robots, but it is a very perishable skill if you don’t use it,” said Cummins.
THP’s special operations unit responds to all 95 counties in the state. It also assists other agencies when needed.
All officers who use the robots train on a monthly basis.