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April 18, 2005

SWAT team may add monkey

You know he's got his eye on the movie rights...

Mesa police want to add monkey to SWAT team
Associated Press
Apr. 16, 2005 03:10 PM

MESA, Ariz. - The Mesa Police Department is looking to add some primal instinct to its SWAT team. And to do that, it's looking to a monkey.

"Everybody laughs about it until they really start thinking about it," said Mesa Officer Sean Truelove, who builds and operates tactical robots for the suburban Phoenix SWAT team. "It would change the way we do business."

Truelove is spearheading the department's request to purchase and train a capuchin monkey, considered the second smartest primate to the chimpanzee. [Ed: Where does that leave humans?] The department is seeking about $100,000 in federal grant money to put the idea to use in Mesa SWAT operations.

The monkey, which costs $15,000, is what Truelove envisions as the ultimate SWAT reconnaissance tool.

Since 1979, capuchin monkeys have been trained to be companions for people who are quadriplegics by performing daily tasks, such as serving food, opening and closing doors, turning lights on and off, retrieving objects and brushing hair.

Truelove hopes the same training could prepare a monkey for special-ops intelligence.

Weighing only 3 to 8 pounds with tiny humanlike hands and puzzle-solving skills, Truelove said it could unlock doors, search buildings and find suicide victims on command. Dressed in a Kevlar vest, video camera and two-way radio, the small monkey would be able to get into places no officer or robot could go.

It has been a little over a year since Truelove filed a grant proposal with the U.S. Department of Defense under the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and he is still waiting for word.

If the grant goes through, Truelove plans on learning how to train the monkey himself and keeping the sociable monkey at home, just like a K-9 officer would. He projects that $85,000 in grant money would outfit the monkey with gear and pay for veterinarian care, food and habitat for three years.


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Top things *not* to say after the genie grants you three wishes:

1. Make me a monkey!
2. Now make it dance!

Sorry that I can't remember who deserves credit (blame) for this. Not me.

Doesn't seem like a very safe city does it?

I wonder how much of the $85,000 goes to "habitat"? (truelove's house)

Well, they have dogs doing police work, so it isn't totally conceivable that these monkeys could do it. I mean if they are the 2nd most intelligent primate not including humans, that makes them 5th most intelligent species in the world after mice, dolphins, humans and chimpanzees. Dogs, I think are much lower down on the list, and they manage to get something done.

...5th most intelligent species in the world after mice, dolphins, humans and chimpanzees.

Not in that order, I presume.

Not in that order, I presume.

Mr. Levy, consider the title of this entire weblog. Then realize that, yes, exactly that order.

Though, personally, based on the analysis of dolphin intelligence, I would be inclined to move gorillas higher up. They stress out far less frequently than chimpanzees, secular Hollywood portrayals of chest-thumping ravening gorillas notwithstanding.

a capuchin monkey, considered the second smartest primate to the chimpanzee. [Ed: Where does that leave humans?]

Somebody trying to appease the creationists here?

Ohh, They can put a little helmet cam on him and he can sneak around and spy on the bad guys and when they need a distraction....well they can teach him to throw his turds at them.

No, honestly there may be something a monkey could do but I would think it would be better for search and rescue kind of work than SWAT.

Those little cymbals clashing repeatedly are a vicious form of psychological warfare. And don't get your finger caught in there or you won't get it back. Bad guys beware!

Part of this grant was for the officer to learn to train the monkey. And, begging the pardon of all, why spend $85K on teaching a cop how to spank his monkey?

I don't don't see the problem with this. If a chimp can be prez then a monkey can be SWAT.

hell, pigeons already control the city streets.

You know, that little kevlar vest they want to buy for it should do a lot of good on an animal that weighs 3 to 8's not like bullet impacts ever shatter the ribs of human police wearing vests...nope, never happens.

"find suicide victims on command" Because no human officer should ever be subjected to the risks of finding someone who is already dead.

This is what you can do with pigeons.

And yes, that's B.F. Skinner.

SWAT: the Ringling Brothers chapter. Whodathunkit?

Well, if they ever make a sequel to that god-awful movie, I vote the have the monkey replace Colin Farrell.

Thanks, Julian -- who else could it have been? Genius.

I say go for it, provided they let the monkey pack heat. I figure if the monkey is carrying it will cut down on the, "I ain't goin' in there! Send the monkey." talk

Clouseau: Do you have a leesance for that minkey?

I guess that our resident chimp would be unable to get a job doing this. He'd never pass the PD background check...


Are you imagining yon monkey climbing multi-storey buildings and scuttling down apartment-building hallways? Don't. Mesa, AZ (a town previously distinguished for being the site of a mildly famous incident wherein Santa Claus got killed in front of hundreds of distraught children) is a classic sunbelt mega-sprawl of low-rise single-use single-user buildings. There aren't many rooms there that can't be entered by going in through the window, and there aren't many windows that can't be reached using a standard ladder.

This guy builds tactical robots. That is, he's already interested in the problem of getting controllable agents into buildings where difficult situations are playing out. Looks to me like the monkey's just an extension of his hobby, only he wants the government to pay for it.

Hey, I like this - a SWAT officer named Truelove! A bit like having a Surgeon General who served on a SWAT squad. Maybe he has a future in the Dept of Homeland Security!

Seems crazy. The terrorists have access way more monkeys than we do.

The monkey is just there to distract the terrorists with his adorable antics while the organ grinder gets in, unnoticed, on the ground floor and frees the hostages. helps you to order online to send flowers to India, Gifts to India for any delivery date.

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