Police Want a Terminator-Style Weapon To Patrol the Streets
(RightWing.org) – A California police department has found itself in hot water after its civilian oversight committee worked itself into a panic about bomb disposal robots. The machines are designed to disarm terrorist bombs without putting human lives at risk, but city officials are worried cops want to shoot people with them.
"For now, Oakland police and commissioners agreed that robots could only be armed with pepper spray, though conversations from the meeting suggest armed robots with shotguns might be deployed sometime in this decade."https://t.co/ED8RboN1sp
— Local Capital (@DaveRubin15) October 21, 2022
On September 21, the Oakland Police Commission discussed the police department’s bomb disposal robot. Lieutenant Omar Daza-Quiroz explained safety precautions for the robot’s disruptor, which uses a blank shotgun cartridge to fire a high-powered waterjet at a bomb, smashing its firing circuit and making it harmless.
When Daza-Quiroz said they’re always careful to load a blank cartridge, civilian commission member Jennifer Tu asked if a live round would fit instead. Daza-Quiroz said yes, it would, and it would effectively turn the disruptor into a shotgun. Another member immediately asked if the department planned to use live rounds. The lieutenant said no — in fact, they’ve never tried it because it might break the $3,000 tool. However, he described a couple of scenarios where it could be useful, for example, where an active shooter had barricaded himself in, and cops couldn’t get to him.
In 2016, Dallas PD stopped a sniper who’d already murdered five cops by attaching a bomb to a robot, sending it to his perch and blowing him up. A decision that has met with criticism.
However, the Oakland Police Commission doesn’t like the idea of cops using robots as weapons, citing the concern for unauthorized use. Now, they’re trying to rewrite the rules to prevent cops from loading live shells in the disruptor and using it to target criminals. Tu says this will head off the danger of police using robots to kill people before their use becomes widespread.
Daza-Quiroz thinks this is a bad idea; he says the robot is covered by the department’s use of force policy anyway, and it makes no sense to shut down options that could save innocent lives in an emergency.
The resulting policy language was modified to prohibit the offensive use of these robots to pepper spray. A compromise between the police and the watchdog commission.
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