Newsom Signs Assembly Bill 481 Implementing “Robocops”

October 5, 2023 ·

SANTA MONICA—On October 4, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) made the following statement updating public information on robotic police video surveillance.

“Recent reports have indicated that robotic delivery services are providing video footage to the Los Angeles Police Department. This is only true in cases where the robotic delivery company has been the victim of a crime.”

The Los Angeles Police Department is committed to constitutional policing and is sensitive to privacy concerns, while holding those who commit crime accountable.

The Santa Monica Police Department released a statement regarding California Governor Gavin Newsom signing Assembly Bill number 481 into law September 30, for the use of AB-481 Military Equipment to be used by police involving the use of robots in place of, and in addition to, actual police officers.

Authorities indicated what has been referred to as the “Robocops,” have a quicker response time to 911 calls and may be able to gain entry into, a building by breaking glass…without risk of injury to members of the police force.

Governor Newsom has been scrutinized over signing the bill. Reports indicate that Santa Monica has experienced an increase of crime and violence of at least 14 percent in 2023. Some residents indicated they feel more comfortable with humans as their first responders.

Section 1. The Legislature finds and declares all the following:

(a) “The acquisition of military equipment and its deployment in our communities adversely impacts the public’s safety and welfare, including increased risk of civilian deaths, significant risks to civil rights, civil liberties, and well-being, and increment of significant financial costs. Military equipment is more frequently deployed in low-income black and brown communities, meaning the risks and impacts of police militarization are experienced most acutely in marginalized communities.”

(b) The public has a right to know about any funding, acquisition, or use of military equipment by state or local government officials, as well as a right to participate in any government agency’s decision to fund, acquire, or to use such equipment.

Section C details how decisions on funding “should give strong consideration to the public’s welfare, safety, civil rights, and civil liberties based on meaningful input.”

Section D is regarding the “legally enforceable safeguards. Oversight, and accountability measures that must be in place to protect the public’s welfare…”

The 2022 SMPD Annual AB 481 report is available online. The Public Safety Reform and Oversight Commission will conduct a hearing for public feedback during their November 7 meeting.

By Sharon

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