Benton County’s SWAT team has been busy, with at least two standoffs reported in the Bentonville area in March alone.
Last week a deputy went to serve a warrant at the home of Mark Swieter on Stoney Hollow Road. But the man ran back inside claiming he wouldn’t be taken alive, according to deputies.
A special robot was called in to communicate with the man. It’s just one of the man tools Benton County’s SWAT team uses.
Whether it`s a person armed with weapons barricaded inside a home, or serving an arrest warrant on a person known for violence, SWAT situations can be unnerving, according to team leader Lt. Thomas See.
But what often eases the unknown is a robot called the recon scout, which is thrown into a home during standoff situations.
“It’s pretty rugged, it can withstand a lot of force,” See said.
The little robot has a camera on it so the SWAT team can see what`s happening inside the home
“We can start getting a layout of some of the rooms, if we know that the suspect is possibly in a certain area, navigate the robot to that area of the house that we can see in,” See said.
Since recon scout can't climb over things like stairs, the cameras are used.
“We can take some of these cameras, again there’s two of them into some of the other rooms in that house, to get eyes or a visual of what`s going on in that room,” he said.
Having ‘eyes’ on the situation is the team’s best defense, according to See.
A video pole camera attached to the machine can see around buildings and expand to look through windows of two story buildings.
The Benton County SWAT team consists of 14 members, currently there are only 7 on the team. The county will be holding tryouts for new members next week.