A “robot dog” is being added to New York’s crime-fighting armoury, along with other high-tech equipment.
“Digidog is out of the pound,” said Mayor Eric Adams as he unveiled the devices alongside police chiefs in Times Square.
He said he was pressing ahead despite critics calling it creepy when the city first trialled one two years ago.
“A few loud people were opposed to it and we took a step back,” the mayor said.
“That is not how I operate. I operate on looking at what’s best for the city.”
The 32kg remote control robot dog will be used in dangerous situations, such as a hostage stand-off.
“If you have a barricaded suspect, if you have someone that’s inside a building that is armed, instead of sending police in there, you send Digidog in there,” said the mayor.
A cone-headed Autonomous Security Robot fitted with multiple cameras and sensors will also be deployed – at first overnight inside Times Square station – in a seven-month trial starting in the summer.
It will be accompanied by a human helper to begin with as it glides around at a leisurely 3mph.
It’s already been used in some university campuses and shopping centres to deter crime.
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The third new device that New York cops will try is the StarChase GPS attachment system, which can fire a tracking device on a suction cup at stolen cars to avoid a police chase.
It can be mounted on a police car or fired from a handheld device. Officers will trial it for 90 days initially.
Some have criticised the force for spending money on the technology and say it could be better spent on essential services.
Albert Fox Cahn, executive director of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, also questioned the need for the kit.
“The NYPD is turning bad science fiction into terrible policing. New York deserves real safety, not a knockoff RoboCop,” he said.