“Homeland Security” Requires a Talking Robotic Dog?

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The Columbus Dispatch sadly reports that there have been “flaws” in Ohio’s allocation of federal homeland security money.

For example, a $10,000 talking robotic dog:

Not cited in the report was an unusual purchase at Port Columbus [Airport] that consumed $10,000 in homeland security funds. Officer Woofy, a 3-foot-high robotic dog wearing an airport police officer’s uniform, rides in a remote-controlled car. Woofy was purchased about six months ago with a grant directed through Franklin County.

Woofy lip-syncs to a variety of customized songs and can squirt water out of the front of his car. Other agencies, including Westerville police, have similar electronic canines.

The advertised purpose of “Woofy” (buy yours here), is to give children a “positive image” of police — or, in the airport, of the TSA.  Here he is in action, in a (nearly unwatchable) video from his maker.

Not to worry, though.  Now that such problems have been pointed out to them, the Ohio Emergency Management Agency assures us that “corrective action” has been taken and they’ve “made significant progress.”   Our government will act wisely in the future — contrary to all of everyone’s past experience with government.

Of course, government wouldn’t be quite so bad if it just bought worthless toys.  Better to throw money away on that than on body scanners, SWAT equipment, or more humans to harass you.

11:16 am on February 22, 2010