San Francisco Police Draft Policy to Give Robots License to Kill

Currently, San Francisico remotely operate the police robots.

QUICK FACTS:
  • The San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) has proposed a policy that would allow their robots to use lethal force.
  • The robots are unmanned and piloted remotely. They are used in several capacities, including investigating “dangerous and hazardous material” and conducting “operations where other robots can’t fit or maneuver,” according to the SFPD.
  • “The robot climbs small obstacles, overcomes curbs, turns in place and self-rights when flipped over,” a department draft policy stated.
  • Currently, the SFPD has 17 robots in total, all of which they obtained before the start of this year.
  • The board will vote on the measure early next week.
DETAILS ABOUT THE PROPOSED POLICY:
  • “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, going on to say that “only assigned operators who have completed the required training shall be permitted to operate the robots.”
  • “Equipment subject to the provisions of AB 481 do not necessarily indicate equipment that has been provided by the federal government and include, but are not limited to, command and control vehicles and less lethal bean bag projectile launchers. AB 481 identifies 14 categories of equipment. The Department’s inventory meets nine of those categories that are listed in this policy.”
BACKGROUND:
  • A recent bill signed into law by California Gov. Gavin Newsom is believed to screen out believers from California’s police force, according to some experts.
  • The bill (AB 2229) requires that applicants to the police department undergo a psychological evaluation to test “bias” on the issues of “gender” and “sexual orientation.”
  • A companion bill, (AB 2547), would ask police departments to search “applicant social media profiles” for “content indicative of potential biases, such as affiliation with hate groups.”