SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – A law enforcement equipment use policy proposed by the San Francisco Police Department would allow heavy-duty robots to be used for lethal force.
“Robots will only be used as a deadly force option when risk of loss of life to members of the public or officers is imminent and outweighs any other force option available to SFPD,” the draft policy states.
The policy also states that “only assigned operators who have completed the required training shall be permitted to operate the robots.”
The robots in question are unmanned and remotely-piloted. They include the IRobot First Look, a throwable, expandable robot that can be used to investigate “dangerous and hazardous material” and “allows operations where other robots can’t fit or maneuver.”
“The robot climbs small obstacles, overcomes curbs, turns in place and self-rights when flipped over,” the draft policy stated.
The SFPD has 17 robots in total, which it acquired before Jan. 2022.
Other robots include the Remotec F5A, which has stair-climbing ability and can lift over 85 lbs., and the Remotec F6A, which can lift 65 lbs. and has a Hazmat probe.
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The new policy will be voted on by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday; the supervisors’ rules committee moved the draft policy to the full board in its Nov. 14 meeting with all three supervisors — District 3 (Chinatown-North Beach-Fisherman’s Wharf) Supervisor Aaron Peskin, District 8 (Castro-Noe Valley) Supervisor Rafael Mandelman and District 1 (Richmond) Supervisor Connie Chan — voting yes.
Across the Bay, Oakland police recently opted not to allow robots to use lethal force.