The Throwbot 2 (TB2) robot from Recon Robotics is a throwable micro-robot platform designed to provide officers with instantaneous video and audio reconnaissance indoors or outdoors.
Special Agent Matthew G. Clifton of the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation Technical Services Unit used it to assist local law enforcement on a domestic disturbance call in which a barricaded suspect had fired on deputies.
"We sent two guys up with their shields and they threw it through the windows. And inside of our Lenco BearCat, I was able to move the robot through the structure to find where the guy was: in a hallway with a gunshot wound from a deputy that had fired at him," Clifton remembers.
He was able to determine not just where the suspect was, but also that there was no one else visible in the structure—any hostages or other suspects. And although the building was dark, Clifton was able to confidently move the robot around because of its night vision capability and its ability to transmit realtime video and audio to his location inside the agency's vehicle. After Clifton finished with reconnaissance, a team of officers entered the structure and found the suspect deceased.
"It has been a game changer because we don't have to put agents or police officers in harm's way," says Clifton. "We bought the telescoping pole so we can put it in an attic or crawl space, too, and we've used it that way to search for fugitives several times." He says his agency has purchased two Throwbot 2 robots and plans to buy one or two more from Recon Robotics.
Editor's Note: This story originally appeared in POLICE Magazine.