San Francisco Officials Approve Police Robot Killings: On Tuesday night, the Board of Supervisors of San Francisco cast a vote to adopt a contentious policy by a vote count of 8-3. The policy would authorize the San Francisco Police Department to deploy robots that are capable of employing lethal force in exceptional circumstances.
Officials in San Francisco Say That Police Robot Can Kill People
On Tuesday night, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted 8-3 to support a contentious ordinance that would allow police to use deadly force robots in exceptional circumstances.
Officers will be able to use ground-based robots to kill “when the risk of loss of life to members of the public or officers is imminent and officers cannot subdue the threat after using alternative force options or de-escalation tactics,” as stated in the ordinance text, which was voted on after heated debate.
The office of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors informed CNN that the legislation still needs a second vote next week and the permission of the mayor. Supervisor Aaron Peskin stated at the board hearing, “There may be an extreme event where, in a practically inconceivable emergency, they could choose to employ deadly force to render, in some awful circumstances, somebody from being able to inflict additional harm.”
Dean Preston, Hillary Ronen, and Shamann Walton, however, did not support the idea and voted no. Preston warned that there was no evidence that the conference needed to discuss the usage of such military-grade technologies. By the meeting’s conclusion, the board had approved an amendment making it such that only one of two top-level SFPD officials could give the green light for a robot to be used for lethal force.
We at CNN have contacted the Board of Supervisors to get a copy of the minutes from their most recent meeting. Robert Rueca, a spokesman for the police department, told the Washington Post that the robots in the force will not be armed. He did say that explosive charges might be attached to the robots to break through reinforced structures, or that they could be used to “contact, incapacitate, or disorient” a hazardous criminal without putting a police officer in harm’s way.
During an interview with CNN on Wednesday, San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott underlined that the robots’ deadly role would only be activated in the direst of circumstances.
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According to Scott, cops with particular training control the robots from a distance. He said that the cops who control these robots have had extensive training and are experts in their field. He went on to explain that robots are neither self-aware nor pre-set. According to Scott, the board of supervisors enacted an ordinance making it clear that only officers holding the level of deputy, assistant chief, or chief of police may give the order to use deadly force with the robots.
He stressed again that “the equipment is now in our custody,” meaning that the robots were already in his company’s hands. No one has ever had to use it that way, and I certainly hope no one ever has to. However, in the event of such a disaster happening in our city, we must have the ability to rescue lives.
Scott said that the technology may save the lives of police officers by making it easier to catch perpetrators in mass shootings. These massacres, he warned, are “far too prevalent.” It’s as simple as equipping our police force with the resources they need to do their duties, and praying that a terrorist attack never occurs on our soil.
Scott referred to a 2021 state legislation that mandates police departments obtain permission from their governing bodies before collecting money for, purchasing, or otherwise employing military equipment. We are “trying to be clear about how we may utilize this equipment” as required by law, he explained. It’s not something we’d like to keep hidden from anyone. In other words, we have nothing to hide.
Reportedly the first time U.S. law enforcement employed a robot to use lethal force was in 2016 when Dallas police detonated an explosive device mounted on a bomb squad robot and dispatched to the suspect’s hiding location to murder an armed suspect suspected of killing and shooting five police officers.