Taser International, the company widely known for its line of electroshock weapons of the same name, has changed its name to Axon and, along with the new branding, is offering every police officer in America a free body camera and a year of supplemental support.
Axon says its revamped company wants to accelerate the future of policing and is extending its offer to all agencies in the country because, currently, fewer than one-third have body cameras in place.
A recent Pew Research poll provided some startling insight and Axon felt they had to play a part. The poll found that 81 percent of officers in agencies with 1,000 or more officers felt that their departments inadequately prepared them to do their jobs. Fifty-six percent felt that fellow officers did not act quickly enough in the field, and 86 percent said their department didn’t have enough officers. The study concluded that, despite having advanced technology available, policing is harder today than in the past.
“There is too much at stake for these trends to continue, or for outdated procurement processes to get in the way of rigorous field testing,” said Axon.
To fight this problem, they are offering one Axon Body 2 camera per officer, two mounts per officer, docks for the station, camera deployment support, unlimited access to their e-learning system “Axon Academy,” two free passes per agency to their Axon Accelerate Conference, and a free year of access to Evidence.com for data storage.
Even if an agency chooses to opt out at the end of the trial, Axon will export their data to them for free and will never charge agencies to access or share any data that’s needed for prosecution or investigation.
The trial is only open to agencies and not individual officers, meaning that if the agency isn’t interested then no officer can take part.
Rick Smith, Founder and CEO of Axon said, “We’re going ‘all in’ to empower police officers to more safely and effectively do their jobs and drive important social change by making body cameras available to every officer in America.”
“We believe these cameras are more than just tools to protect communities and the officers who serve them. 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. That’s why we’re giving this opportunity to every single police officer in America.”
Body cameras have been accessible to police departments for years now, yet many have failed to take advantage of them for budgetary or other reasons.
For agencies that are still wary about the use of cameras, this non-binding, yearlong, free of charge opportunity to test out the devices is the perfect opportunity.
Government entities don’t often get to test out equipment before spending taxpayer dollars on it, so this is a unique opportunity that should not be ignored.