NYPD's 'Digidog' returned, 'put down' after viral outrage

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Thursday, April 29, 2021
NYPD ends contract to lease robotic police dog
NYPD says it's returning the digidog and ending the pilot program.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- RoboDog is no longer the NYPD's best friend.

The department will return the robotic police dog, named "Digidog," to the manufacturer following viral outrage tied to calls to cut police funding.

The NYPD first showed Eyewitness News the dog in December, and it received national attention on "60 Minutes" last month.

However, the robot was hounded by law enforcement critics after cell phone videos were posted of the dog responding to hostage negotiations and standoffs with barricaded armed suspects.

Critics questioned where the robot fit in a culture of police reform, and wondered if it was actually a surveillance drone.

Police officials said the robot's purpose was to take police officers out of harm's way, and that it was actually cheaper than other robots already in use.

Instead, they said it became a "target" of "politics, bad information and cheap sound bites."

The NYPD was initially scheduled to test the robot dog's capabilities until August, but decided to cut the pilot program short.

The robot will be returned to manufacturer Boston Dynamics and the city will terminate the $94,200 contract.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said he is, "glad the Digidog was put down."

"It's creepy, alienating, and sends the wrong message to New Yorkers," a mayoral spokesperson said.

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