a policy suggestion That is headed for Board of Supervisors approval next week would explicitly allow San Francisco police to kill suspects using robots.
The new policy, which sets out how the SDF is allowed to use its military weapons, was put in place by the police department. For the past several weeks, it has been vetted by moderators Aaron Peskin, Raphael Mandelman, and Connie Chan, who together make up the Board of Supervisors’ Rules Committee.
The draft policy has faced criticism from advocates for its language about robot power, as well as for excluding hundreds of assault rifles from its inventory of military-style weapons and for not including personnel costs in the price of its weapons.
Peskin, the committee chair, initially tried to limit the SFPD’s power over existing bots by including the sentence, “Bots may not be used as an application of force against a person.”
The following week, Oath strike out his proposal with a thick red line.
It was replaced by language codifying the department’s authority to use lethal force via robots: “Robots will only be used as a lethal force option when the risk of loss of life to members of the public or officers is imminent and outweighs any other option of force available to the SFPD.”
This could mark a city-legal first: the use of force by a robot has occurred not before It is either approved or banned in San Francisco. A copy of this draft policy was unanimous by the Rules Committee last week and will appear before the full board on November 29.
“The original policy they introduced was actually silent on whether bots can deploy lethal force,” said Peskin. He added that he ultimately agreed to the SDF’s deleted guidelines, because the department made the case that “there can be scenarios in which the deployment of lethal force is the only option.”
Advocates and lawyers who oppose the militarization of the police are less convinced.
“We live in a dystopian future, where we are debating whether police may use robots to execute citizens without a trial, jury or judge,” said Tiffany Moyer, the ICC’s senior staff attorney. Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area. Muir leads the organization’s work on police misconduct and militarization.
“This is not normal,” she wrote via email. “No lawful person or ordinary resident should continue as if it were a matter of course.”
The SFPD has 17 robots in its arsenal, 12 of which are described as fully functional. According to police spokesman Robert Roica, they have never been used to attack anyone. Bots are typically used to investigate and defuse potential bombs, and for surveillance in areas that are difficult to reach or dangerous for officers.
Specific uses in the new draft policy include “training and simulation, criminal arrests, serious incidents, exigent circumstances, and the enforcement of a court order or during suspicious device evaluations.”
And in extreme circumstances, they can be used to kill.
Robots in Dallas and Oakland
In 2016, the Dallas police attached plastic explosives to a robot and used it to do so Sniper bombing which killed five officers, the first time a police robot had killed a suspect in the United States. The Remotec F5A is one of the SFPD robots, the same model used by the Dallas Police Department.
Recently in Auckland, a policy on killer robots came before the City Police Department’s Civilian Oversight Board. One of the devices they discussed was a broken PAN, which can be attached to a robot and uses an empty shotgun shell to disable the bomb by detonating it with pressurized water. The police acknowledged that in an emergency, they could arm her with live ammunition. The SFPD has several PAN disruptors that can be attached to bots and shotgun shells.
At that meeting in September, Oakland police finally removed language that would have allowed them to kill with bots. They said they hope to pursue the option in the future.
San Francisco plans
Roica said the San Francisco Police Department “doesn’t have any kind of specific plan in place” for how deadly force will be used with robots as “extraordinarily dangerous or spontaneous operations where the need for the SFPD to deliver lethal force via a robot is rare and exceptional circumstances.”
New policies on the use of military weapons by local police forces are now being drafted and approved across California thanks to a state law called AB 481that passed last year. Discovering botnet power options is just a small part of the law’s purview.
The law states that every California police force must report annually its inventory of all military-style weapons, their cost, how they were used, and how they were used in the previous year. The law also gives local authorities — in the case of San Francisco, the Board of Supervisors — the ability to annually reject or accept rules governing how guns are used.
The board will also be required to sign off on any new military-style equipment prior to purchase, though the police will be able to replace any existing equipment worth up to $10 million without approval.
Most advocates of the militarization of the police hail AB 481 as a step in the right direction for accountability and transparency. But concerns have been raised that some jurisdictions have not gone far enough in limiting how military-style weapons are used.
Jennifer To, associate American Friends Service CommitteeTracks how police departments across the state are implementing AB 481.
“I suspect most policies will leave room for robots to use force,” To said. She said she understood that most administrations didn’t mention bots at all, which meant they were only subject to general restrictions.
The ACLU she has Posted tips regarding police use of robots, and notes that the limited situational awareness of robots compared to personal officers increases the likelihood that force will be used “inappropriately and/or on the wrong targets.”
“There’s a really big difference between hurting someone right in front of you and hurting someone through a video screen,” To said.
In addition to the issue of the robot’s strength, Tu said, there are still areas for improvement in the project.
In its initial filing, the SFPD deleted all of its 608 semi-automatic assault rifles, 64 submachine guns, and 15 submachine guns from the new use-of-force policy. According to Peskin, they were added when he retracted their deletion. But in oath Latest versionwhich is due to come before the superintendents next week, 375 semi-automatic assault rifles are lost again.
The Rationale Because these assault rifles are out of politics: The chief of police defines them as “standard-issue service weapons.”
Victory added that rifles and handguns can be omitted because they are standard issue, according to AB 481, but that exemption does not apply to assault rifles.
“Military weapons are defined by the law, not the chief of police,” civil rights attorney Moyer wrote in an email. “San Francisco is not the only department that has attempted to redefine ‘military weapons’ to justify concealing their use, costs, and maintenance from the public.”
“If the law defines military weapons as chewing gum, the police department will have to disclose their use of gum,” she said.
“I really think it would be baffling to the public if these assault weapons were not reported,” To added. Their omission will mean that in future annual reports the police will not need to declare how the weapons were used or who were injured by them.
Another point of contention with the Defenders is that the SFPD did not include personnel training or maintenance times in its assessment of the cost of their military-style weapons. This appears to be required by AB 481, which states that costs must include “the acquisition, personnel, training, transportation, maintenance, storage, modernization, and other continuing costs” of weapons.
But SFPD Reject a proposal from the American Friends Service Committee to include personnel costs. The department said that maintenance and training takes place during normal business hours, and that its human resource management system cannot track different types of work performed by officers, so “there is no compelling reason to track in the manner suggested.”
It remains to be seen if the policy as it currently stands will be passed by the Board of Supervisors, and what restrictions will eventually be placed on the police department’s military-style weapons — including robots. Once the rules are settled, the process will start again with the sheriff’s department, who will need to create their own policy to stay in compliance with AB 481.
“The great news about this thing is that it can be developed,” Peskin said, adding that the policy must be vetted and approved every year if the SFPD wants to continue using its weapons.
“And I think we’re starting in a good place.”
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