March 30, 2023

Law enforcement robots may get license to kill in San Francisco

Cops will be allowed to use their unmanned automobiles against human targets if a local proposal is successful

The San Francisco Police Division is seeking permission in order to deploy lethal robots towards human suspects, according to a policy proposal sent to city authorities. While the SFPD’s robots are primarily designed for bomb removal and surveillance, police state they can be used as a last-resort  “ deadly power option. ”

In a  document   setting out how the SFPD programs to use all of its military-style equipment, the department had written that  “ robots will only be used as a lethal force option when danger of loss of life to members of the public or officers is certainly imminent and outweighs any force option available to SFPD. ”

City supervisors disagreed using the proposal, inserting a range stating that  “ robots shall not be utilized as a use of force against any person. ” Nevertheless , when the documents went back towards the SFPD for review, the cops  struck out there   the line plus returned the text to its original version.

The documents were published on Wednesday by  Mission Local , a San Francisco-based news site. Aaron Peskin, who chairs the Bay area Board of Supervisors’ Guidelines Committee, told the site that while he inserted the line banning lethal force, he eventually approved the police department’s changes, as  “ there could be scenarios where deployment of lethal force was the just option. ”

The entire board will vote on the policy following Tuesday. Last month, police in neighboring Oakland removed language from a similar record that would have given all of them permission to use robots in order to kill suspects. Police departments across the entire state of California are submitting comparable policy documents to their cities, as a state law exceeded last year requires them to statement their stocks of military arms, and set out the particular situations in which they can be utilized.

According to the documents, the SFPD has seventeen robots which can be used to enter buildings, handle hazardous components, detonate explosive devices, or even survey inaccessible areas. None of these devices is designed to kill, but the Dallas Police Department strapped  plastic explosives   to a bomb-disposal bot in 2016 to kill a sniper who experienced murdered five officers. The particular SFPD currently has the exact same robot – the Remotec F5A – in its menu.

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