The NYPD is deploying robot police to the Times Square subway station, with New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D) saying the move will save the city money, given that robots don’t need “bathroom breaks” or “meal breaks,” and the city is paying less per hour than its minimum wage to lease the robot.
“The population of men and women in law enforcement — in criminal justice — those numbers are decreasing,” Mayor Adams said in a Friday morning press briefing, announcing the deployment of the robot. “What we must do is look at existing technology and see — how do we continue to be innovative.”
Public safety and justice are the pre-requisites for prosperity — and we are committed to exploring innovative tools to keep New Yorkers safe. Join us now in Times Square. https://t.co/vQQKP3loDz
— Mayor Eric Adams (@NYCMayor) September 22, 2023
“We must use every available method to continue to see our city be the safest big city in America, and that’s what we’re doing,” the NYC mayor insisted. “We’re taking existing technology, cameras, being able to communicate with people, and we’re placing it on wheels.”
“Properly using technology saves money,” Adams continued. “Being able to view from the ground or in the air really allows the proper deployment deployment of manpower and police resources.”
Therefore, on Friday, New York City is deploying the police robot, called K-5, to patrol the city’s busiest subway station in a new pilot program, the mayor said.
“Today, we’re launching a pilot program to test the Knightscope K-5 security robot,” Adams announced. “The NYPD must be on the forefront of technology.”
The mayor explained that the police robot “will operate between midnight at 6:00 a.m. at the Times Square subway station for two months,” and “will be accompanied by a police officer at all times.”
“It will be trained to map out the station,” Adams said. “It will record video that can be reviewed in the case of an emergency or a crime. It will not record audio, and it will not use facial recognition.”
Adams added that the K-5 does will also “have a button that connects you immediately to a live person that New Yorkers can utilize 24/7 with questions, concerns, or to report an incident, if needed.”
After the two-month trial program, the effectiveness of the robot cop will be assessed, and a decision will be made on how to use the technology moving forward, he said.
The mayor went on to stress that the city is leasing the robot for $9 an hour, noting that the price is below minimum wage in New York City.
“It’s cost-effective, $9 an hour. That’s below minimum wage,” he said. “We’re not buying [the robots], we’re leasing.”
After being asked by a reporter how much the robot will cost, Adams said, “I know you wanted to write about how we’re wasting money, but I’m sorry, I’m taking your thunder away. We’re leasing at $9 an hour.”
“I’m hoping you’re going to put a line in your story about how cost-efficient I am,” Adams insisted. “This is below minimum wage. No bathroom breaks, no meal breaks. This is a good investment.”