Body-camera maker offers 1-year trial to police agencies

Brittany BishopApr 06, 2017

Taser International, the company behind ubiquitous shock devices carried by law enforcement officers nationwide, announced Wednesday that it was changing its name as part of a shift toward focusing on body cameras worn by police. The company will now be called Axon, which is the name of the business unit that it runs out of Seattle.

Dyer said TASER had a virtual monopoly on electric weapons and had already sold body cameras to most of the big police departments that have made a decision on the technology. Departments that sign up will also get online data storage, camera equipment and other services.

Axon bills the initiative as a way to help officers operate with "confidence and focus" so that they can better serve the people and communities where they work. "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". "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". Deployment of the technology locally has stalled as a federal judge decides if officers should be able to watch camera footage before writing reports.

Axon's body-camera division is growing rapidly. And Axon's free trial offer is not valid for departments that have requested, and are assessing, body-camera proposals from providers, because during that period Axon isn't allowed to have much communication with the agency. It was this kind of offer that caused Seattle-based competitor Vievu to sue over the Phoenix Police Department's body camera contract.

The trial is being offered to new customers and existing users who might not have cameras and software for all their police officers.

Axon founder and CEO founder Rick Smith, right, and Axon general manager Marcus Womack in Seattle last fall. More than 180,000 lives and countless dollars have been saved with Axon's network of devices, apps and people.

The company's official website is now "We're building a community, this is just the enabler", Smith said.

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