San Francisco bans use of lethal robots in policing
by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday unanimously to reverse its own decision last week to allow police the use of remote-controlled robots equipped with potentially lethal explosives to save lives in extreme circumstances, the Washington Examiner reports.
The Board originally approved the “Law Enforcement Equipment Policy” in an 8-3 vote on November 29, but this was rescinded following strong criticism of the controversial idea, the Examiner said.
In a statement on December 1, the San Francisco Police Department explained that the robots would be used as a “last resort option” to deal with extreme situations. “We live in a time when unthinkable mass violence is becoming more commonplace,” the SFPD explained in its statement.
“In extreme circumstances, robots could be used to deliver an explosive charge to breach a structure containing a violent or armed subject,” the statement said. “The charge would be used to incapacitate or disorient a violent, armed, or dangerous subject who presents a risk of loss of life…Our robots are primarily used in EOD/bomb situations, hazardous materials incidents, and other incidents where officers may need to keep a safe distance before rendering a scene secure.”
The robots were purchased by the SFPD between 2010 and 2017, the statement said. They would have been operated by police officers who had undergone specialized training in their use.
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