Ever watched the reboot of Robocop and saw those police robots and drones checking out suspects? Well, this technology is still far from that extreme sci-fi concept, but the day may come when the police may use taser-equipped drones to patrol streets or penetrate into hostile areas. Like the Robocop reboot, the idea of cops sending in drones to arrest or stun suspects may seem far-fetched for now, but remember that technology is growing in leaps and bounds now and that US police officials are now looking into the drone possibility with a few companies. Police officials are already in talks with a few companies that are manufacturing the police force’s stun guns, body cameras, and dash cameras that have become part and parcel for law enforcement. These companies have assured officials that they are capable of making drones, and possibly arming them with tasers.
Initial talks between officials and the companies are more focused for now on the drones themselves. There is no decision yet on whether to actually strap any form of weaponry on the quadcopters. There is also the matter of training police officers to fly police drones, whether armed or not. Various other future concepts are also being discussed such as drones that could disarm bombs or IED’s. The basic premise being pushed forward by police officials is that these future police drones must be able to be deployed in high-risk scenarios such as terrorist barricades, drug labs or dens in rural areas, or during bank robberies. The objective is to use the drones to first incapacitate the suspect or suspects rather than killing them outright. The police are beginning to explore more high-tech solutions to more challenging situations that are becoming more commonplace these days.
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For instance, just last July, Dallas police had to kill a violent sniper suspect who shot and killed at least 5 police officers by delivering a bomb to the suspect’s hiding place using a robot. In this similar situation, had the police been in possession of a taser-armed drone quadcopter, it could have incapacitated the sniper from a safe distance and then move in to make an arrest. However, there are critics who have voiced their fears that such a concept, should the plan go into production, would ultimately lead police to load up drones with a variety of guns and even rockets. According to Pete Simpson, spokesperson for the Portland police department, “while a Taser drone could be useful in some circumstances, getting the public to accept an unmanned vehicle that’s got some sort of weapon on it might be the greater hurdle to overcome.” The idea of police using quadcopters is actually nothing new. In a few instances in the past, police deployed drones to scout enclaves held by white and skinhead supremacist groups during face offs with law enforcement. In Lucknow, India, Indian police have several drones equipped with pepper spray canisters for use against riots and unruly crowds.