Crime

Taser Maker To Give Free Body Cameras To All US Police

| by Lauren Briggs

The company that makes Taser stun guns announced on April 5 that they will provide all American police departments with free body cameras and a year of free access to online storage for the footage.

Taser, the largest supplier of body cameras, will also change its name to Axon, the name of the product most frequently used to record police officers, reports Ars Technica.

In a press release, the company said that the name change is intended "to reflect the evolution of our company from a weapons manufacturing company to a full solutions provider of cloud and mobile software, connected devices, wearable cameras, and now artificial intelligence," according to CNBC.

Axon will retain their top-selling Taser product but stated that they are focusing on aiding police officers in the struggles that they face under increased scrutiny and accountability requirements in the aftermath of the August 2014 killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown and other shootings of unarmed black men.

Popular Video

This young teenage singer was shocked when Keith Urban invited her on stage at his concert. A few moments later, he made her wildest dreams come true.

"Our belief is that a body camera is to a cop what a smartphone is to a civilian," Rick Smith, the company's CEO, told Ars. "Cops spend about two-thirds of their time doing paperwork. We believe, within 10 years, we can automate police reporting. We can effectively triple the world's police force."

Smith said that 20 percent of police officers have cameras, meaning that 80 percent have a gun but no way to film what they are doing with it.

"We believe these cameras are more than just tools to protect communities and the officers who serve them," Smith said in the press release, according to CNBC. "They also hold the potential to change police work as we know it, by seamlessly collecting an impartial record and reducing the need for endless paperwork."

While police body cameras are a popular idea -- indeed, polls show that two out of three police officers support it -- some people do not approve of the potentially exclusive business relationship between Axon and the police force.

Popular Video

This young teenage singer was shocked when Keith Urban invited her on stage at his concert. A few moments later, he made her wildest dreams come true:

"Taser is clearly positioning itself to be identified as the (only) police body-camera company, which has some potentially troubling consequences for policing," University of California, Davis, law professor Elizabeth Joh said in an email to Ars. "A tech vendor is making important decisions about policing."

According to Smith, the company anticipates that they will retain 80 percent of police departments as regular customers, though they only need between 20 and 30 percent conversion to make a profit off of their deal, notes Ars.

Sources: Ars Technica, CNBC / Photo credit: Boston News Now/Twitter

Should all police officers be required to wear body cameras?
Yes - 0%
Yes - 0%