Privacy SOS

Coming soon to your local police department: robots?

Please note that by playing this clip YouTube and Google will place a long term cookie on your computer.

You might have heard that police departments nationwide are clamoring for used military equipment, and that 165 departments have just received $500k mine resistant armored personnel carriers, called MRAPs. Tens more departments asked for the trucks but haven't yet received them.

From predator drones to machine guns to armored vehicles and lots of stuff in between, domestic law enforcement from DHS down to our local police departments is receiving millions of dollars of used military equipment for use on our city streets. When the US armed forces don't need it, or get a new model, they have to do something with the massive quantities of expensive equipment they use in overseas wars. Projects like the 1033 program let the military gift those things to police departments. Police just pay for shipping. 

The video above shows a robot built for military use. There are many others like it in development. Can we expect to see versions of these robots handed down to domestic law enforcement within the next few decades? Imagine that thing walking down your residential street, scanning every person in sight and beaming surveillance video back to a police fusion center. 

Don't want your local police department to turn into a paramilitary force? Get involved. You can fight back and win at the local level. Find out how.

© 2021 ACLU of Massachusetts.