There is a new member of the Warner Robins police department.
At Monday night’s Council meeting, Lieutenant Jeff McCommon introduced Lieutenant Arno, who happens to be a robot.
The robotic four-legged K-9 is a new way for the Department to interact with kids.
McCommon says Arno will be used at city events, things like the Christmas Parade, and career days to help foster a better relationship between kids and cops.
“If the robot is telling them something, it's not a 6-foot-4 police officer, it's a robot. It's a character, or caricature that can tell them something and they can better understand it, and probably better receive it. And through that, show the kids that we're not the bad person,” McCommon said after the meeting.
McCommon works as a community relations liaison and says Arno will help network with young people for educational purposes and for fun.
Arno sits in a remote-controlled car that is decorated like a WRPD cruiser, including flashing lights and siren. As McCommon talks into a headset, what he says comes out of Arno’s mouth.
Arno is named after a former K-9 that worked with WRPD.
But it’s not all about fun and education, McCommon says it’s also about trust.
“That's part of it, we want to build trust. We also want-- We know that there are competing interests for kids every day. Some good, some bad. We want to be that good competing interest to win out,” he said.
Arno cost $12,500, which was paid with donations from businesses in Warner Robins.