St. Petersburg Police Department adds robotic dog SPOT to its lineup

St. Petersburg Police Department adds robotic dog SPOT to its lineup

SPOT in the street
Photo courtesy St. Petersburg Police Department

St. Petersburg’s newest police dog may not be quite as cuddly as its counterparts, but it comes ready to perform some tricks the other canines could never pull off. The St. Petersburg Police Department officially welcomed a robotic dog named SPOT to its lineup this week, a new tool for use in emergency situations.

SPOT’s ability to climb stairs, open doorknobs, use a 360-degree camera and communicate through a microphone will allow it to help de-escalate situations and avoid potential harm to human life and risk to first responders. This will help prevent the use of force and will protect law enforcement and suspects alike from potential gunfire. SPOT will be deployed exclusively through SWAT and will only be used for emergency situations. The robot is not a weapon and will not be armed in any way.

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SPOT comes equipped with technology to protect human life

SPOT has a camera so that the operator can see what’s in front of the robot and control its movements from a safe distance. It also has an intercom, allowing the operator to speak with and hear a person involved in a high-risk situation. The department says this is particularly useful in situations where a suspect is barricaded in a building or is holding hostages. SPOT will also be available in fire and rescue situations where it’s unsafe to deploy fire department personnel because of an unstable building, chemical hazards or other impediments.

The robot was donated to the police department by the Speer Foundation, meaning no public funds were used to make this addition.

The police department said SPOT will not be used for any of the following: crowd control, routine police calls, surveillance or intelligence-gathering outside of an identified high-risk situation, traffic control, or any action to intimidate or coerce any person not involved in a high-risk incident.

While most of us won’t see spot in action – and hopefully none of us are in a situation to need the robotic dog’s help – the St. Petersburg Police Department has shared a video to show what the newest member of the force is capable of. Check out the full demo here.

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