In 2008, after purchasing a tactical robot using Homeland Security grant funding, the Washington County Sheriff's Office organized a team to specialize in using this and other new technologies in law enforcement tactical operations.
In dangerous situations, the tactical robot offers law enforcement alternatives to putting people in harm's way. The robot is capable of gripping, manipulating, carrying and opening objects, punching through windows, cutting wires, and even deploying a 37mm gas launcher. Its cameras record audio and video in a full 360-degree rotation around the robot. The team also employs other technologies along side robotics for advanced communication and observation in tactical situations.
With more grant funding, the team was able to purchase two more robots. These two do not have manipulator arms and are much smaller. They offer a quick way to get a first look at an incident. These two robots are also used in our Field Search Robots (FSR) program. They are carried in the patrol cars of on-duty ROVT members for use in routine patrol patrol functions.
The team is comprised of Sheriff's Office personnel in a secondary duty assignment capacity from detectives, patrol, jail, civil, and the law enforcement technologies unit. Members train often throughout the year to maintain a high level of proficiency with the robots. They must also consistently perform well in their primary duty assignments to stay on the team.
Four agencies in Oregon have robots assigned to their bomb squad, but your Sheriff's Remotely Operated Vehicle Team is the only team dedicated to applying this technology to a broader array of tactical situations. Your Sheriff's Office is also the only agency in the state that has robotic support for routine patrol functions.
For more information about the Washington County Sheriff's Remotely Operated Vehicle Team, please contact Sergeant Tristan Sundsted at (503) 846-2383.