Spot Robot Dog Boston Dynamics Public Domain

Los Angeles Approves Cyber Dog for Police Work

The Los Angeles City Council voted to allow a controversial “robot dog” to join the LA Police Department despite overwhelming public opposition.

The council voted 8-4 to allow the department to use the donated “Quadruped Unmanned Ground Vehicle” even though public comments before the vote were negative and fearful.

The robot, valued at over $270,000, was donated by the Los Angeles Police Foundation, a non-profit that supports the officers and mission of the LAPD.

The robodog is called Spot by its creators at Boston Dynamics, which frequently releases videos of its robots moving in extraordinarily complex ways. A separate company, Levatas, recently integrated the Spot robot with ChatGPT to give it advanced cognitive inspection abilities.

According to a filing, the donation is meant to enhance officer safety as a first line responder to high-risk incidents.

However, critics say it isn’t necessary for a city police force and is ripe for misuse.

“This item is being painted as merely an acceptance of a donation, but it really represents an expansion of the current boundaries around policing and surveillance,” said Councilmember Hugo Soto-Martinez, who voted against approval.

One local resident called in to lambast the council over the phone.

“Your taking public comment is clearly performative,” they said. “After listening to overwhelming public comments, you vote the opposite way. New York City and San Francisco have already rejected these robot dogs. The LAPD does not need military weapons.”

Indeed, the New York Police Department employed similar robot technology in 2021 but canceled its use after fierce opposition. Reportedly, a Spot robot dog quietly made its way back onto the NYPD last month.

The NYPD announced it procured two Spot bots, which it pledged would not patrol communities. They’re intended to be used only in situations where robots are currently used, such as bomb-squad scenarios and search operations.


  1. Kick that thing to the curb. People don’t want or need this spying machine. It’s total BS, and they know exactly what they are doing.

  2. Using advanced technology to prevent unnecessary exposure of flesh and blood personnel is likely a good idea – as long as it is properly used and controlled.
    As I pointed out to my lieutenant many years ago when he balked at providing hand held radios to us rank and file deputies, if we don’t leverage technology to our advantage we might just as well still be riding horses and carrying six shooters.

  3. I don’t understand the objections? If used in the context of it’s intent, that is to protect or preserve human life (especially that of the officer) as in the case of exposure to explosives, what is wrong with that? Could it not also be used for rescue of a wounded victim while exposed to a shooter by aiding in escape or cover while under fire? I am sure there are many scenarios and applications the robot could be used to protect and save lives by our emergency personnel and police. I presume there are circumstances that may allow for abuse but that is a point the user agency has to manage to contain the potential of un-lawful misuse.

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