New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

New York Daily News NYPD returns ‘scary’ robot dog to manufacturer after backlash by John Annese

NYPD returns ‘scary’ robot dog to manufacturer after backlash

The dog first appeared at crime scenes early this year, and Daily Show host Trevor Noah mocked it in a February segment.

“Wow, a robot dog? What a cool way for the police to say they have too much money and should be defunded,” Noah quipped.

It also drew comparisons from City Councilman Ben Kallos and others to an episode of the TV series “Black Mirror” featuring a killer robot dog. The sci-fi and horror anthology series explores how technology and social media innovations can go grievously wrong.

But Miller brushed off the “Black Mirror” comparison as ridiculous.

“When people have to borrow from fantasy to come up with a rationale, it is a reach,” he said. “Cops have to deal with real world situations, and I need real world tools.”

Digidog was hounded by other problems: The NYPD leased the robot without properly notifying the city, Comptroller Scott Stringer told the Daily News last week.

Last August, Stringer terminated a memorandum of understanding that allowed the department to keep its spending on surveillance technology secret. The NYPD insists Digidog wasn’t a surveillance tool.

Kallos — who issued a subpoena to learn that the NYPD leased Digidog at $7,850 a month for 12 months, with a minimum payment of $94,200 — cheered the robot’s return to its maker.

“Our city needs more community policing, officers connecting to residents, not scary military-style gadgets that scare folks,” the Upper East Side Democrat said. “We did the work to find out how much was spent on this and we put pressure on the city to adjust priorities. I am glad the robot dog has been put down and we can use the money that would have gone to buying more of these to invest in communities and building better relationships with residents.”


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