Lethal Police Robots One Step Closer To Reality In California City

By Bill Galluccio

November 30, 2022

Police Swat Team Officers Using a Mechanical Robot Unit
Photo: Getty Images

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted in favor of allowing the police to deploy robots capable of using lethal force.

After a fiery debate, the proposal easily passed by an 8-3 vote.

The San Francisco Police Department currently has 17 robots that can be equipped to use lethal force. However, officials said they don't plan to give robots guns. Instead, they plan to outfit them with explosives that can be used to breach buildings or "contact, incapacitate, or disorient" a potentially dangerous suspect.

Officials said the robots would only be used "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," the Washington Post reported.

Supervisor Dean Preston, who was one of the three people to vote no, voiced concerns that the robots could be misused.

"There is serious potential for misuse and abuse of this military-grade technology and zero showing of necessity," he said during the meeting.

A second vote on the policy will be held next week. If it passes again, it will head to the desk of San Francisco Mayor London Breed, who had voiced support for allowing police to use lethal robots.

"The Mayor supports policies that allow police officers to quickly and safely respond to situations that involve a risk of violence to the public, and this includes tools such as live video or robotics technology. These tools should be available to peace officers to employ to save lives," the mayor's office told Fox News.

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