Robo-dog catches man sleeping during standoff with LAPD

For the record:
1:44 p.m. Nov. 8, 2023: An earlier version of this story quoted the Los Angeles Police Department as saying a robot dog was used for the first time during Wednesday’s standoff on a Metro bus. The LAPD has since confirmed that the robot dog had been used before.

The Los Angeles Police Department deployed its controversial robot dog during a standoff with an armed man on a Metro bus Wednesday — only to realize the person was asleep.

Police responded to the busy intersection of Melrose and Western avenues in Hollywood just before 4 a.m. after receiving a report of a man with a gun on a bus, Officer Melissa Ohana said.

A passenger had informed the bus driver about the armed man, and the driver contacted police. The driver pulled the bus to the side of the road and passengers safely got out, while the man stayed on board.

Officers who arrived at the scene tried to make contact with the man but were unsuccessful.

At a standstill in the two-hour standoff, cops deployed their robotic quadruped to sniff out the situation, according to Ohana.

Read more: City Council votes to accept donation of controversial LAPD robot dog

The robodog helped police confirm that the man, who was carrying a gun, was asleep on the bus.

"The guy eventually woke up, got off the bus and officers were able to talk to him and take him into custody for further questioning," Ohana said.

The man was apprehended around 6:40 a.m. The firearm was found to be a BB gun, according to police.

Read more: See Spot spy? A new generation of police robots faces backlash

The L.A. City Council voted in May to accept the donation of the $280,000 dog-like robot for use by the LAPD.

In the council's 8-4 vote, members approved allowing the Police Department to use the robot but required the LAPD to provide quarterly reports on its deployment.

The device is nicknamed Spot and is used in circumstances that require a SWAT team response.

Staff writer Jeremy Childs contributed to this report.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.