By: April Carson
The San Francisco police department will now be able to use robots in emergency situations, a vote that was backed by city leaders.
Under this policy, SFPD is authorized to use these robots for deadly force in only the most limited and extreme situations when threat of serious harm or death to innocent people or officers is imminent, and there are no other available options that would be as effective.
Robots offer several advantages compared to human officers in certain scenarios. They can be used as a deterrent, and if needed, a robot can quickly deploy lethal force without putting officers or bystanders at risk of harm.
San Francisco leaders voted in favor of a new policy on Tuesday, with eight members voting in support and three opposed.
The San Francisco Police Department has 17 robots, but NONE of these are equipped with guns and the department doesn't have any plans to do so in the future. The spokesperson said that the department could use these robots during emergency situations when lives are at risk. The explosive charges on board would be used "to contact, incapacitate or disorient violent, armed or dangerous suspect."
The decision to arm robots has been met with criticism from civil rights advocates, who worry about the potential for abuse and a lack of transparency.
SFPD spokesperson Allison Maxie said in a statement that robots equipped as such would only be used in "extreme circumstances" to save innocent lives or prevent more loss.
The public was not receptive to the plan because it would have given law enforcement militaristic gear.
Without a trial, jury, or judge, the use of robots by police to execute citizens is something that Tifanei Moyer- a senior staff attorney of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of San Francisco Bay Area- says debate over suggests we are living in a dystopian future.
Sultan Meghji, a professor at Duke University, joined Fox News’ "Jesse Watters Primetime" Monday to voice his disagreement with the proposal. He believes the use of robots in this capacity will be viewed as a violation of the public's trust.
"No legal professional or ordinary resident should carry on as if it is normal," he said.
He told host Jesse Watters that he believes it's a terrible idea for policy decisions to be made based off of the Terminator franchise.
The policy has received support from San Francisco Mayor London Breed's office, which praised it for "strikes a good balance between protecting lives and establishing guardrails to prevent misuse."
Despite the assurances, Meghji argued that robots are not capable of making moral judgments and should not be given the power to decide who is a threat.
"Robots have no sense of morality — they don't understand whether or not it’s ethically correct for them to be shooting at innocents," he said. "It’s one thing to use them as tools, but it’s a whole other level of complexity to give robots the ability to take another life."
On Wednesday morning, the mayor's office told Fox News Digital that "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 so they can use them employ lifesaving strategies."
The statement continued, "If the police are called to a situation where someone intends or is already harming innocent people, and there is technology that can help end the violence and save lives, we need to allow police to use these tools."
The San Francisco Police Commission has approved the use of robotics in dangerous situations such as hostage rescue or active shooters. The robots are capable of carrying video cameras, audio speakers, and other items that can help law enforcement defuse tense situations.
On Tuesday, supervisors revised the proposal to state that officers can use robots only after they have attempted to subdue a suspected criminal through alternative force or de-escalation tactics.
Only a few high-ranking officers could authorize the use of robots as a deadly force.
Earlier this year, the Oakland Police Department investigated the option of arming robots with weapons that could shoot projectiles, but they later decided against it.
San Francisco's Police Department believes that armed robots are a necessary tool to protect its officers and the public in high-stakes situations, as they can help prevent unnecessary deaths.
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About the Blogger:
April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on bossbabymav.com
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