The Miramar and Pembroke Pines Police departments have partnered together to purchase one of the most valuable tools available for tactical teams, the iRobot. Robots are being deployed by law enforcement in order to gather intelligence, approach suspicious packages or devices, and most importantly, to avoid putting an officer in a potentially dangerous situation. The departments entered into an interlocal agreement (ILA) to jointly purchase the robot, at approximately $146,468.
It’s not the first time both departments have worked together in a cost sharing effort. Miramar and Pembroke Pines collaborated in 2010, with the joint purchase of a Bearcat Armored Rescue Vehicle using 2009 Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) grant funds available to each city. Specially designed, ballistic engineered armored response vehicles have become the standard for rapid delivery of personnel and weapons during critical events. The total cost of the Bearcat was approximately $282,000, including all mutually desired options.
“The existence of an effective local agency partnership led to the initial, shared purchase of the Bearcat armored rescue vehicle. The demonstrated success of this collaboration led to the recent purchase of the iRobot. In both instances, no general funds were used to purchase this highly specialized equipment which is intended to safeguard the lives of our officers and citizens in our respective communities.” – Chief Ray Black, Miramar Police Department
“The Bearcat armored vehicle and the iRobot are two important tactical assets for police departments to have in responding to high risk calls such as an armed barricaded subject. As cities face financial challenges, police departments can continue to enhance their existing partnerships by sharing the expense and maintenance of new technologies, equipment and special purpose vehicles. The partnership that the Pembroke Pine Police Department has with the Miramar Police Department is an excellent example of acquiring and sharing two major law enforcement assets, the Bearcat armored vehicle and the iRobot. Both assets will enhance the safety of police officers and citizens of both communities. This partnership allows both police departments to obtain state of the art equipment at a shared cost which is beneficial to each city. Our share of the cost for these two projects was funded with the Urban Area Security Initiative allocation for Pembroke Pines.” – Chief Dan Giustino, Pembroke Pines Police Police Department
The iRobot 510 PackBot is one of the most successful field-tested robots in the world. It performs bomb disposal and other dangerous missions for first responders. The iRobot PackBot is a medium sized multi-mission robot that has been in use in the field for almost 10 years. There are about 3,800 iRobots fielded in Iraq, Afghanistan, internationally and domestically for use by bomb squads, SWAT teams, and other departments.
The robot will be configured to meet the needs of the SWAT team. It will have a three link arm that can see up to 7.5 feet, and a thermal/infrared camera with two way audio/video capabilities that will allow face to face negotiations with armed subjects without jeopardizing safety.