Los Angeles (CNS) — The Los Angeles City Council voted 8 to 4 on Tuesday to approve the donation of a robotic dog for use by the Los Angeles Police Department. After more than an hour of public comment on the device and members of the council,
The council accepted the donation, with amendments by council member Katy Yaroslavsky to ensure that the LAPD produces a quarterly report on equipment deployment. results of the installation and any problems related to its use.
In addition, the council will “closely monitor” the $277,917 Quadruped unmanned ground vehicle and ultimately adjust its usage policy or suspend the use of the device at any time.
Yaroslavsky said that “As with the use of new technologies used in medical examinations, It is important that the city council has proper oversight and the ability to modify or halve the program if the situation is appropriate,” said Yaroslavsky.
The device, built by Boston Dynamics, was donated to the LAPD’s Metropolitan Police Department by the Los Angeles Police Foundation.
Council members Heather Hutt, Curren Price, Nithya Raman and Hugo Soto-Martinez vote against the donation. Council members Eunisses Hernandez and Marqueece Harris-Dawson. did not attend a city council meeting on Tuesday
Most of the people who spoke during the public comment. called on the council to reject the donation. It said the donations would only be used to criminalize and harm the city’s black and Latino community.
“This is the third time this matter has been on the agenda. And hope you guys make the right decision. Let this be one last time and stop it,” said Emerald Johnson, who spoke to the robot.
“We, your supporters I don’t want a robot dog. It’s not just a donation. And this will cost us more in the long run.”
Brendan Schulman, Boston Dynamics vice president of policy and government, and David Kowlaski, LAPD deputy chief, responded to questions from Soto-Martinez
in a tense exchange Council members asked Schulman to provide details on how unarmed technology was deployed in 2022. The LAPD report said unarmed technology was used 39 times in different parts of the city.
“Obviously One of the concerns expressed in the most recent council meeting is whether or not the technology we use is being misused in certain areas of Los Angeles,” Kowlaski said. “Investigating those uses on both sUAS (small unmanned aerial systems) and robots (ground), we did not find any specific trends or patterns associated with those uses.”
Soto-Martinez denies that This “is not true” as the LAPD’s unarmed devices are used more frequently in Hollywood and South Central compared to LA’s more affluent neighborhoods and communities.
Kowlaski reassured the council that the LAPD had “clearly defined circumstances for use with a rigorous approval process”.
Previously, LAPD representatives pledged that the equipment would only be used in SWAT, hazmat, or search-and-rescue operations. The police also confirmed that The robot will not be armed with any weapons or facial recognition technology and will not be used in any reconnaissance operations.