By W. Thomas Smith Jr.
The Richland County Sheriff’s Dept. (RCSD) is featured in the Apr. 2017 edition of S.W.A.T. magazine. The feature, “Real-life ROBOCOPS: Drones and robots provide edge in threat environs,” looks at the unmanned aerial surveillance and ground-based robotic platforms used by the RCSD during special and other operations.
According to the article, “Drones [unmanned aerial vehicles] are indispensable in 21st-century SWAT operations like those employed by the RCSD’s Special Response Team, often providing the best – perhaps the only – real-time photographic intelligence for operators on the ground.” adding, “Drones aren’t the only remotely piloted platforms in the RCSD inventory. Sheriff Leon Lott’s force of some 700 uniformed officers are also supported by three ground-based robots, which – like the also unmanned drones – are capable of various tactical and surveillance operations.”
Sheriff Lott says, “Like our drones, our robots are key in mitigating the risk to human life.”
The high-tech platforms are employed in a variety of tactical and non-tactical operations.
Lieutenant David Linfert, the RCSD’s bomb squad commander, says, “The RCSD receives between 100 and 150 EOD-related calls per year, and they are not all telephoned bomb threats by teenage boys. Richland County encompasses large-acreage military installations like Fort Jackson and McEntire Joint National Guard Base, which in terms of their being vast military reservations previously extended much further beyond their present borders in earlier decades (especially before and during World War II). Consequently, land that was once utilized as a munitions impact-area – primarily areas used for grenade and mortar training, as well as that of artillery (the big guns) live-fire training and aerial bombing runs – have become civilian commercial and residential properties with housing subdivisions having been built on land sometimes still concealing unexploded ordnance.”
That’s where the robots have proven effective.
See S.W.A.T. magazine for full story. The Apr. 2017 edition is available at bookstores and newsstands, nationwide. Visit S.W.A.T. magazine online at https://www.swatmag.com/issues/current/.
S.W.A.T. magazine is one of the leading tactical firearms publications – covering weapons, weapons-related gear, survival, self-defense, and law-enforcement special operations and training – in the world. The acronym S.W.A.T. (also SWAT) originally stood for “special weapons and tactics” (it still does when referencing paramilitary S.W.A.T. teams), but for the magazine today the letters represent “survival weapons and tactics.” S.W.A.T. magazine was founded in 1981.
The Richland County Sheriff’s Dept. is one of the largest law-enforcement agencies in South Carolina. Visit RCSD at http://www.rcsd.net/.