Taser changes name in shift to software, police services

An armed police officer rests his hand on a taser outside the Ministry of Defence in London Britain

Axon CEO Rick Smith said that his company's name change from Taser International and its initiative to offer free body cameras for every us law enforcement officer reflect a larger shift toward creating a "connected network". "That's why we're giving this opportunity to every single police officer in America", Axon CEO Rick 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.

Taser International, makers of law enforcement technologies including body cameras, supporting software, and data storage, announced a new program and a change in identity on Wednesday.

Police departments across the country have begun to adopt body cameras as a method of protecting their officers - by recording and storing interactions with civilians, the cameras can be used to corroborate the stories of officers who become scrutinized for their actions or use of force.

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"[The cameras] hold the potential to change police work as we know it, by seamlessly collecting an impartial record and reducing the need for endless paperwork".

Axon invites all providers of body cameras to join in this effort and provide free trial equipment for public safety agencies.

The company may have initially made its name with the Taser device, but the move towards body cameras has been a lucrative one. Smith, the company's chief executive, told the Huffington Post that the Taser name "can be a little polarizing". Two-thirds of cops are in favor of a body camera, according to a recent survey by Pew.

Axon notes that the free, one-year trial offer is "not available for any law enforcement agency or its officers in which Axon is participating in a request for proposal, a process that restricts communication with that agency or its officers". In 2016, the body camera division of Taser International brought in $65.6 million. The market now includes roughly 60 companies that manufacture cameras; the two dominant ones are Axon and Vievu, which has added a number of big-city clients recently, including the NYPD. Since Axon announced the deal today, one department in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina has already signed on. More than 180,000 lives and countless dollars have been saved with Axon's network of devices, apps and people.

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