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A new program will equip every police officer in the USA with a body camera. TASER International has launched the new program that will offer free body cameras as well as the hardware, software, data storage, training, and support to police departments free of cost for one year.
At the same time, TASER, which expertises in connected law enforcement technologies, announced that it was changing its name to Axon.
According to prnewswire.com, Axon’s development of body cameras, cloud solutions, and other technologies is, in part, a response to the changing nature of police work. A recent Pew Research Center study painted a stark portrait of 21st-century policing. Policing, the study concluded, is harder today than it has ever been. Police officers expressed serious concerns about limited resources, lack of staffing, and equipment issues. Axon believes that technology can help address these problems.
“Cameras are the first of many steps toward a future where officers feel more confident and are freed from mundane report writing to focus more time on community policing,” said Rick Smith, founder and CEO of Axon. “Ask any officer about what prevents them from spending more time in the community, they’ll tell you it’s because they spend the majority of their shift filling out forms, often by hand. In time, cameras combined with artificial intelligence will make that very manual process automatic and effortless by creating video records to replace manual forms. The faster we can get this technology to officers who need it, the faster we can begin that process and free up officers’ time to get back into the community, building better relationships with the people they serve.”
Every police officer in the United States will receive access to the company’s body-cam technology, including: one Axon Body 2 camera per sworn officer, digital evidence data storage with an Evidence.com “Unlimited Pro” license, two mounts per officer, a docking station to securely upload body camera footage, and an access to the full Axon Academy online training library.
The company claims that the offer gives departments the chance to prove the benefits of body camera technology before investing taxpayer dollars in purchasing it. Without field testing, police departments often end up purchasing technology without the input of the people who use it every day, often with dismal results.
Frontline officers are best positioned to evaluate and test this technology, the company said, calling for others in this space to give them that chance. Axon invites all providers of body cameras to join in this effort and provide free trial equipment for public safety agencies.