Company offers body cameras to every cop in the US

An armed police officer rests his hand on a taser outside the Ministry of Defence in London Britain
An armed police officer rests his hand on a taser outside the Ministry of Defence in London Britain
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06 April, 2017

Taser International (TASR) said Wednesday that it's officially changing its name to Axon, and it's offering free body cameras to every police officer in the U.S.

The Taser product still made up a majority of the company's revenue past year, but the name change signals the company's overall shift toward body cameras, software and artificial intelligence. And Axon founder and CEO Rick Smith said he expects the body cameras will make it easier for officers to do their jobs, and will "drive important social change".

Police departments across the country have begun to adopt body cameras as a method of protecting their officers - by recording and storing interactions with civilians, the cameras can be used to corroborate the stories of officers who become scrutinized for their actions or use of force. "They also hold the potential to change police work as we know it". A decade later, the company added police body cameras to its production line.

The company may have initially made its name with the Taser device, but the move towards body cameras has been a lucrative one. And the prospect of having more police departments sign on after their yearlong trial probably isn't a bad look either.

If every officer was equipped with a camera, it would eliminate the need for such thorough and time-consuming police reports, many of which are handwritten, and would help streamline communication, Axon's news release said.

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"We're not just a Taser weapon, we're not just body cameras but we're all those things that plug in with a network of apps, people and devices", Tuttle said.

Frontline officers are best positioned to evaluate and test this technology, and we encourage others in this space to give them that chance. In July 2016, 37-year-old Alton Sterling was shot and killed by Baton Rouge police.

The name change, revealed Wednesday, signals a transition from just weapons manufacturing to a more comprehensive law enforcement technology company, according to CNBC.

If the move is successful, Axon could quickly crowd out its rivals entirely.

Axon defines itself as "the global leader in connected law enforcement technologies". Axon has also been growing its cloud-based software business - evidence.com - where it collects the vast amounts of data from body cam footage. In a 2013 survey, which included 254 police departments, 39 percent of those departments said they don't use cameras because of how much they cost.


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