The San Francisco Board of Supervisors will vote tomorrow on a policy regarding police robots.
The policy would allow law enforcement robots to use deadly force in certain circumstances, NPR reported.
The original draft policy allowed no use of force by the county's 12 robots, but was amended.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors will vote tomorrow on a police policy that will determine whether or not robots will be allowed to deploy deadly force.
In its agenda minutes for the meeting scheduled for Nov. 29, the Board of Supervisors is set to vote on "a policy governing the funding, acquisition, and use of certain law enforcement equipment." NPR reported the policy, which will apply to the San Francisco Police Department's 12 existing law enforcement remote-controlled robots, will determine whether or not the bots will be allowed to use lethal force against residents of the city.
The original draft policy submitted to the Supervisors stated, "Robots shall not be used as a Use of Force against any person," NPR reported, but the SFPD crossed out that sentence with a red line and submitted an alternate draft stating: "robots will only be used as a deadly force option when risk of loss of life to members of the public or officers are imminent and outweigh any other force option available to the SFPD."
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
The San Francisco Police department also did not respond to Insider's request for comment, but a spokesperson for the department told NPR "the SFPD does not own or operate robots outfitted with lethal force options and the Department has no plans to outfit robots with any type of firearm," adding: "No policy can anticipate every conceivable situation or exceptional circumstance which officers may face. The SFPD must be prepared, and have the ability, to respond proportionally."
The San Francisco proposal has been met with backlash from legal and policy experts alike, with one weapons expert telling NPR that deadly force "is not and should not be the purpose for police forces."
"We are living in a dystopian future, where we debate whether the police may use robots to execute citizens without a trial, jury, or judge," Tifanei Moyer, senior staff attorney at the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area told Mission Local, a regional news organization.
"This is not normal," she told Mission Local. "No legal professional or ordinary resident should carry on as if it is normal."
While the use of robots among law enforcement is still relatively rare, NPR reported 2016 was the first time a robot was disclosed as having been used for lethal force by law enforcement in the US, when Dallas police used a robot armed with an explosive to kill a suspect who had shot and killed five police officers.
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