US city approves use of robot police officers who will be authorized to use deadly force

Stewart Perrie

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US city approves use of robot police officers who will be authorized to use deadly force

Featured Image Credit: Susanne Pommer / Alamy Stock Photo. Eddie Gerald / Alamy Stock Photo

San Francisco has become the first city in the United States to approve the use of robot police officers who will be permitted to use deadly force.

If you're getting serious science fiction doomsday feelings right now, we don't blame you.

People living in the Californian city could soon see robots deployed to serious situations and take out targets when needed.

There have been multiple drafts to the policy, however the San Francisco Board of Supervisors has finally settled on wording that will hopefully appease everyone.

Credit: Alexander Oganezov / Alamy Stock Photo
Credit: Alexander Oganezov / Alamy Stock Photo

But leave those thoughts of RoboCop patrolling San Franciscan streets behind.

The city's Police Department (SFPD) has insisted these robot officers will not be given guns.

Instead, SFPD spokesperson Allison Maxie said in a statement the machines would be given 'explosive charges' instead.

Oh, much better.

The robots would only be used to 'to contact, incapacitate, or disorient violent, armed, or dangerous suspect' and during 'extreme situations' when lives are at stake.

The Associated Press says the debate to approve or block the policy was fairly heated.

Apparently, supervisors argued for hours over whether they should let the police department have their killer robots.

Supervisor Rafael Mandelman was one of the people involved in the vote and he said authorities should be allowed to do their job how they see fit.

"I think there’s larger questions raised when progressives and progressive policies start looking to the public like they are anti-police,” he said.

Credit: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo
Credit: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

“I think that is bad for progressives. I think it’s bad for this Board of Supervisors. I think it’s bad for Democrats nationally.”

Board President Shamann Walton said raising concerns about killer robots doesn't automatically mean anti-police.

“We continuously are being asked to do things in the name of increasing weaponry and opportunities for negative interaction between the police department and people of color,” he said.

“This is just one of those things.”

The vote ended with eight supervisors for the policy and three against.

The robot police officers that end up being deployed will only be allowed to execute deadly force by 'high-ranking officers'.

These high-ranking cops will also only be permitted to give the order after using alternative force or de-escalation tactics.

It's unclear when the robots will be able to be ready with these deadly force additions.

However, the San Francisco Police Department already has 12 'functioning ground robots used to assess bombs or provide eyes in low visibility situations'.

Topics: Technology, Police, Robotics, US News

Stewart Perrie
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