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New NYPD 'Digidog' Robot Raising Questions Among New Yorkers

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- New NYPD technology has some people doing a double-take and asking questions.

It's a robot shaped like a dog.

Monday afternoon at 344 East 28th Street, cops responded to a man barricaded after a domestic dispute.

Sadly, it's an all-too-common situation, but it drew attention.

It was one of the first times the public has seen the new NYPD digidog, bristling with cameras and microphones. It's able to approach danger and feed back live pictures and sound.

MSA Security consultant Justin Kelley used to command the Connecticut State SWAT team.

"It allows them to really put a plan together, to get eyes in there without putting a human body in there," he told CBS2's Tony Aiello. "Really gives you that real-time intel that is so critical to any scene like that."

He believes technology such as digidog can save lives and money.

"There's gonna be instances where they're gonna be able to determine that the person's not in the residence, so a seven-hour standoff might be now 90 minutes. There's savings there,"' he said.

"Defund the Police" critics sounded off on social media, portraying digidog as a frightening instance of over-militarized police and, with a $75,000 price tag, wasteful.

"They got military gear, and now they got robot dogs in the streets. Further oppressing us with robots now," Rep. Jamaal Bowman said.

Digidog is made by Boston Dynamics, which continues to develop accessories, including arm attachments.

NYPD policy outlines limited use of the robot for "situational awareness" at dangerous scenes.

Mayor Bill de Blasio says he'll speak with cops about it.

"If in any way it's unsettling to people, we should rethink the equation," he said.

Police robots have been around since the 1970s but never quite like this.

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