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'SWAT robots' soon to protect US first responders

Thu, 04/18/2013 - 4:19pm
CLARKE CANFIELD, Associated Press

SANFORD, Maine (AP) -- A Maine company that's developed manned and unmanned tanks with names like "Ripsaw" and "Riptide" for the military and Hollywood filmmakers has unveiled a new contraption - a high-tech police shield that sits atop a miniature, remote-controlled tank-like vehicle.

Brothers Michael and Geoff Howe say the "SWAT robot" keeps SWAT teams and other first responders safe in standoffs and while confronting armed suspects. It also can provide cover from suspected explosive devices, like those set off Monday at the Boston Marathon.

Howe and Howe Technologies Inc. developed the machine with Massachusetts State Police. It was unveiled Thursday at the Sanford Police Department.

Police Chief Thomas Connolly heads a regional tactical police squad that has tested the device. He says it give officers a "huge tactical advantage."

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