The ranks of three local police departments will grow in 2018 to include a SWAT robot that can allow police officers to stay out of the line of fire when handling active crime scenes.
The Cedar Park City Council approved purchase of the robot on Tuesday night using a $53,810 justice assistance grant from the Office of the Texas Governor.
Assistant Police Chief Mark Harmon said the robot will be shared with Leander and Georgetown police departments who are members of the Central Texas Regional SWAT Team with Cedar Park.
“If we have a barricaded subject in a house, we can’t tell from the outside if they are still a threat,” Harmon said. “We can view the interior of the house remotely without putting officers in harm’s way.”
The ICOR Technologies, Inc. robot can communicate verbally with the operator while transmitting camera images. It can also climb stairs, open doors, and deflate tires.
The new robot police recruit is expected to arrive in Cedar Park in January and will be based here. Officers from all three departments will be trained to operate the robot.
Also Tuesday, the council had a public hearing on a proposed ordinance to require council members to file annual personal financial disclosures with the city. The filing is optional in cities with populations under 100,000 people. Some councils, including those in Leander and San Marcos, have opted to make it mandatory.
City Attorney J.P. LeCompte said state law provides different deadlines for the disclosure filings by elected and appointed council members as well as by council candidates. The council discussed January 15 as a standard deadline for all filings in a final ordinance.
The council also selected FSC, Inc. to provide engineering design and construction services for a pedestrian bridge to span Spanish Oak Creek in the Town Center development. The bridge will replace a trail creek crossing and a concrete pathway also is planned. The council agreed to spend up to $85,000 for the work.