Scottsdale company giving body cams to police across the country

Posted April 06, 2017

Taser International, which just changed its name to Axon, announced that the initiative will also provide law enforcement offices with supporting hardware, software, data storage, and training for one year, also free, CNBC reported.

While the Taser brand is strongly associated with weapons that give you an electric shock and are sometimes wielded by police officers who appear to be looking for a fight, the company is now rebranding by expanding into body cameras for police officers.

"We are 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", Smith said.

Axon said the decision was inspired in part by a Pew Research Center study that found policing is more hard today than ever before.

Body cameras are a growing business for Taser, which also makes stun guns.

"We believe these cameras are more than just tools to protect communities and the officers who serve them", Axon founder and CEO Rick Smith said in a statement. And like any company trying to fire a little juice into their rebranding, they're doing a good old fashioned giveaway, announcing that they'll give free body cameras away to any police department in America.

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The company has made no secret of its ambitions beyond the Taser devices, with a spokesman telling The Post in 2015 that wearable technology represented the company's future. Axon recently acquired two AI companies that will allow it to help departments more quickly redact identifying information in the video being collecting from body cameras.

A recent audit of Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority officers wearing body cameras, for example, found that the devices reduced officer injury by 30 percent, and suspect injuries by 20 percent. An estimated 850 officers were to possibly be impacted by the new technology.

In regard to the name change, Smith said it more accurately reflects the company Axon has become. Taser will now be the name of exclusively the one product. The company's official website is now www.axon.com. "You didn't know you needed it, but once you had it, you're like, I'm not giving this back". But a lengthy process that often comes with contracts with public agencies and a desire to reach more departments, quicker, is driving Axon.

Axon is based in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Axon employs nearly 500 hundred people and is valued at more than $1 billion.