The Marshall County Sheriff's Office is getting new technology it says will keep deputies safer in situations like hostage negotiations and active shooter scenarios.
They are the first sheriff's office in the state to invest in it.
Here's how the Bounce Imaging Tactical Explorer works. The camera is baseball-sized, so law enforcement officers can easily throw it into an area they want to go or need to see into before entering.
In addition to audio capabilities, the tool has a stabilizing camera.
So, someone on a computer device outside the room has a 360-degree view of what's going on inside.
"SWAT teams if they are clearing a building, they can toss it in, hostage negotiations so if there is someone that is barricaded in, they can toss it in and have video of them and with the two-way audio, be able to communicate with the suspects in there," said Ty St. Clair, sales manager with Bounce Imaging.
"In search and rescue, if there is a collapsed area and it's tight to get into, they can drop the camera down in there and look for survivors or anyone else they may be looking for."
Law enforcement can mount this camera on a stick, allowing them to get into small spaces like an attic or a crawlspace.
"Traditionally it would be a different kind of equipment, or you would have to poke your head in the attic, which opens the officer up to possibly being injured or shot," said Marshall County Sheriff Phil Sims.
It also helps streamline communication during active scenes. The sheriff says that will save precious minutes in those situations.
"In a tactical situation, we have throw phones. Throw phones are usually deployed to talk with a perpetrator or whoever in a closed room or closed setting. They go through windows or through doorways. Sometimes it takes a lot of time to set those up because you have phone cords attached to them, they are lengthy and so forth. With this, you take it out of the box, turn it on, deploy it. So it does save a lot of time," said Sims.
It can also be used in the event of an active shooter situation at a school.
"As a team enters, they can put a magnet on this, stick it on a locker and then they've got rear security. With motion detection enabled on the device, they will be alerted if there is anyone moving back behind them," Sims said.
Sims says not only will the new technology save lives, but it will also save money.
"To me this technology is going to replace about three or four other pieces of equipment that we traditionally use independent of each other. This one piece of equipment will replace those, at a fraction of the cost," he said.
The department will get two of these new cameras in about two weeks. The cameras were paid for through a technology grant.