The issue first surfaced publicly on Sept. 21 during a routine discussion of militarized equipment, when civilian police commissioners, weighing how to amend Police Department rules governing robot use, learned that the department already had a robot armed with a shotgun -- a device known as a PAN disrupter (the acronym is short for "percussion actuated nonelectric").
It is one of several features made possible by the robot's detachable arms, according to police documents submitted to Oakland City Council. The robot has, for example a rotating claw with a telescoping camera, as well as detachable arms for distributing tear gas from canisters.
Apropos of nothing, tear gas is banned by the Geneva Convention.
The gun-shaped PAN disrupter can be filled with projectiles including blank shotgun shells, liquid or live ammunition, and used for purposes like bomb detonation or blowing open locked doors.
"Can a live round physically go in, and what happens if a live round goes in?" asked Jennifer Tu, a member of the commission's subcommittee on militarized policing. "A live round can go in absolutely and you'd be getting a shotgun round," replied Lt. Omar Daza-Quiroz. [...]
"After mulling it over and having conversations with command staff, we decided to remove that option and moved forward with total prohibition," Jordan said.