A new underwater robot will undoubtedly provide valuable service to the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office by performing functions such as searching for weapons and missing persons in bodies of water. So there should be no objection in principle to law enforcement having the device.
Neither can we fault the department for making use of a $111,000 federal grant to buy the submersible, which will let authorities recover items weighing as much as 90 pounds, in water as deep as 250 feet.
What's unclear is why the federal government chose in the first place to fund a purchase whose purpose is so obviously local.
Someone might argue that without the federal money, the department couldn't afford the robot. Perhaps, but where did the money originate? It came from taxpayers across the country. If Washington were not collecting high taxes -- and borrowing more -- to begin with, more money would be available at the state and local levels for needed purchases.
We'll be glad to see the benefits of the underwater robot. But we wish it didn't involve a federal middle man.