According to a report by Mission Local, the San Francisco Police Department is considering a policy that would allow robots to kill. When the risk of loss of life to members of the public or officers is imminent and outweighs any other force option, the robot can be used as a deadly force option.
The new equipment policy has been reviewed by members of the Board of Supervisors. The Dean of the city's Board of Supervisors initially stated that "robots shall not be used as a Use of Force against any person."
The draft was returned with a red line crossing out Peskin's addition and replaced with the line that gives robots the authority to kill suspects. Peskin decided to accept the change due to the possibility of lethal force being the only option. The Board of Supervisors will vote on the draft on November 29th.
The SFPD has 17 remotely pilotedrobots, but only 12 of them are functioning. The proposal gives robots the ability to use deadly force, as well as allowing them to be used in training and simulations, criminal apprehensions, critical incidents, exigent circumstances, and during suspicious device assessments.
The department has a tool called the PAN disruptor that can load 12-gauge shotgun and newer Remotec models have an optional weapons system. It is usually used to blow up bombs from a long way away. 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.
It would be a rare and exceptional circumstance for the SFPD to use a robot.
When the risk of loss of life to members of the public or officers is imminent and outweighs any other force option available, the San Francisco Police Department can use lethal force.
The Dallas Police Department used a robot for the first time last year. The bomb-disposal robot used to kill the suspect was owned by the San Francisco Police Department. Dallas police chief David Brown said at the time that the department had no other choice but to use a bomb robot and place a device on its extension to blow up the suspect.
The Oakland Police Department was reported to be considering allowing shotgun-equipped Remotec F5A robot to use deadly force. The OaklandPD decided against addingarmed remote vehicles to the department after the report came out. Boston Dynamics signed a pledge not to weaponize theirrobots earlier this year.