San Francisco Police Department Proposes Using Robots Deadly Force


New Delhi: The San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) has proposed a new policy according to which robots can be used as a “deadly force” option in dangerous situations like risk of loss of life to members of the public or officers, reported The Verge. The department also wants to use them in training and simulations, criminal apprehensions, critical incidents, exigent circumstances, executing a warrant or during suspicious device assessments.

Currently, the SFPD has 17 remotely piloted robots out of which 5 are non functional. These robots are mostly used by the department to defuse bombs or deal with hazardous materials. 

However, newer Remotec models have an optional weapons system and can be modified to hold various weapons — a weaponized version of the robot is currently used by the US Army and can equip grenade launchers, machine guns, or even a .50-caliber anti-materiel rifle, reported The Verge.

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While the SFPD also said that using the robots  a “deadly force option” will be the last resort.

“SFPD does not have any sort of specific plan in place as the unusually dangerous or spontaneous operations where SFPD’s need to deliver deadly force via robot would be a rare and exceptional circumstance,” said SFPD Officer Eve Laokwansathitaya while speaking to The Verge. 

He also said, “SFPD has always had the ability to use lethal force when the risk of loss of life to members of the public or officers are imminent and outweigh any other force option available.”

In its report, The Verge website citing the The Intercept also said that  that California’s Oakland Police Department was also considering letting shotgun-equipped Remotec F5A robots use deadly force. 

In 2016, The Dallas Police Department for the first time had used the same Remotec F5A model owned by the SFPD to carry out deadly force, reported The Verge.