In keeping with modern trends, Robotics will soon enter the LAPD to help the force. The robots will be unarmed drones, and necessary permission has been given by the Police Commission which is a civilian oversight panel. With the go-ahead, LAPD has become the largest police force in the country to obtain approval for deployment of drones in policing work.

Permission for the pilot scheme has been given for a period of one year during which time its usefulness will be evaluated. This trial period would help to note its shortcomings - if any.

This is important because a section of critics feel that the drones could, one day be armed and used to wound or kill suspects.

Opinions differ on drones

Daily Mail UK reports that there have been instances when SWAT officers were killed while on duty. Such deaths could have been avoided if drones had been used. One of the cases involved checking the perimeter area of a barricaded man with a gun, and a drone could have done that quite easily. Another was an officer who lost his life when he tried to enter a house.

However, there are fears that drones used by the police could gradually be converted into formidable weapons. In fact, Connecticut lawmakers are believed to be considering a bill that would allow police to deploy unmanned aerial vehicles fitted with weapons.

The drone program of LAPD has been criticized by legal experts, and privacy rights activists who feel the people will lose their privacy. In their opinion, activities of this nature begin with good intentions but ultimately the authorities lose sight of the basic objective.

The drone is an example of the practical application of robotics in the field of policing. This is necessary to fight modern-day crime where criminals have access to sophisticated weapons. In order to tackle them, the crime fighters must be armed with equally powerful weapons like drones.

Robots have an advantage

Drones that used to be deployed in the battlefields were armed but, the unarmed versions have entered the civil life in a big way.

The decision to authorize drones for LAPD has brought into focus an incident in July 2016 when the Dallas police used a 'bomb robot' to eliminate a suspect believed to have killed a number of police officers.

In today’s world of automation, robotics have entered different areas like farming and businesses because these are superior devices that can perform preprogrammed tasks on a regular basis. These help to preserve manpower for activities where the involvement of humans is inevitable and the introduction of drones by LAPD in policing work must be viewed in that context.

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