BREAKING NEWS – Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s your not so friendly armed police drone and at the push of a button miles away, someone may be getting ready to take you out. Officials said today that the day when police take down suspects from the sky with drones carrying stun guns and other weapons, may be closer than you think.
In fact, one of the biggest manufacturers of Taser devices, Taser International Inc., which is known for its stun guns and body cameras, is exploring the concept of a drone armed with a stun gun for use by police. This week, the company held discussions with police officials about such a device during a law-enforcement conference in San Diego, California.
Company spokesman Steve Tuttle said “Following recent events, including the use of a robot to deploy lethal force in Dallas to eliminate a highly dangerous threat, we’ve received questions about whether it would be feasible to similarly deploy a TASER from an autonomous vehicle.” The comment was made referencing the Dallas police department’s recent use of a bomb-disposal robot armed with C-4 explosive to take out a gunman who had targeted and killed five officers during a BLM demonstration in July.
Many people are likely to not even think about the possibility of Armed Police Drones, but to many others, the concept is completely unacceptable and likely to generate backlash from those opposed to the militarization of police. Also the move comes at a time when tensions are already high among authorities and minority communities over police killings of black men. “The public is going to initially be alarmed by this,” Jim Bueermann, president of the Police Foundation, a research group, who viewed the drone at the conference and talked with a Taser employee about it.
But like many other government officials, Bueermann believes that the public in general will accept the new crime fighting weapon. Many Departments are already using drones to monitor suspects and provide Intel during sporting events and hostage situations. In fact, police in at least 3 states have started investigating the use of armed drones in certain situations. The days of “Robocop” may not be here yet, but it appears that the “Rise of the Machines” is closer than you think.
Marketwatch.com contributed to this report.