LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Christmas came early for LMPD's SWAT team.
The robot, made possible by a grant from Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation, demonstrated its capabilities at a news conference outside a restaurant on Hurstbourne Lane Thursday morning.
LMPD's SWAT team will now be able to use the advanced robot in blind situations, instead of risking officer and K9 lives.
According to a news release, in 2017 alone the LMPD SWAT team faced 183 high-risk situations where they encountered 28 armed and barricaded suspects.
Officers say they couldn't be more excited to have received the grant to purchase the equipment that will eliminate the need to put lives at risk in dangerous situations by allowing the department to communicate with suspects, and survey and clear dangerous areas.
"To be able to reach out to Firehouse Subs, and for them to reach out to us and work together in collaboration to increase our capabilities, I think it fulfills both the mission of the team -- the department, as well as Firehouse Subs and their dedication to public safety," said Paul Humphrey with LMPD SWAT.
With a camera and 2-way communication, the robot serves as the eyes, ears, and mouths of the officers.
“Anytime we can do things from distance and with cover, it reduces the chance of direct conflict with people who may not be ready to surrender at that point,” Humphrey said.
The lightweight, highly maneuverable robot can be used on any type of surface -- including stairs -- and can even flip itself over if it encounters obstacles.
The Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation collects donations at its stores to provide grant money. The organization has awarded more than $37 million worth of life-saving equipment to first responders in the U.S. and Canada -- including nearly $460,000 in Kentucky.
"We are so grateful to Firehouse Subs for allowing us to provide this piece of equipment to our officers, and more importantly our community," said Tracie Texas Shugart, LMPD Foundation Director.
The new LMPD SWAT robot is valued at $26,290.
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