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Tactical Robot Will Help Eagan Police Defuse Standoffs, Search for Suspects

The Eagan Police Department rolled out a new tactical robot this winter, courtesy of a $15,000 donation from the Eagan Citizens Crime Prevention Association.

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Meet "Tim," the tactical robot.

The Eagan Police Department's newest team member isn't afraid to dive into tense standoff situations, send reconnaissance information back to fellow officers and help police track down a suspect.

Named for Tim Gossfeld, a Thomson Reuters employee who died in a hang glider accident last year, the diminutive robot will play an integral role in the Eagan Police Department, according to Public Information Officer Desiree Schroepfer.

"Having a robot that’s wirelessly controlled will allow us to reduce the risk to Eagan police officers," Schroepfer said. The robot, she added, will primarily be used to locate suspects who have barricaded themselves in a home or other structure during standoff situations.

Tim is equipped with a camera that sends real-time video back to handlers, who operate a remote control. the camera also operates in the infrared spectrum—for low-light situations—and can pick up sound, according to Eagan Police Chief Jim McDonald. The robot is waterproof and durable enough to be thrown. It has an effective range of 300 feet from the controller.

A roughly $15,000 donation from the Eagan Citizens Crime Prevention Association made the purchase of the tactical robot possible, McDonald said.

The robot was already deployed to one standoff situation in Dakota County, McDonald said, and it had a decisive impact.

"When the suspect saw this device, they immediately gave up,” McDonald said.

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