N.Y.P.D. Robot Dog’s Run Is Cut Short After Fierce Backlash

The Police Department will return the device earlier than planned after critics seized on it as a dystopian example of overly aggressive policing.

When the Police Department acquired a robotic dog last year, officials heralded the four-legged device as a futuristic tool that could go places that were too dangerous to send officers.

“This dog is going to save lives,” Inspector Frank Digiacomo of the department’s technical Assistance Response Unit said in a television interview in December. “It’s going to protect people. It’s going to protect officers.”

Instead, the machine, which the police named Digidog, became a source of heated debate. After it was seen being deployed as part of the response to a home invasion in the Bronx in February, critics likened it to a dystopian surveillance drone.