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

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

Body cameras are growing in popularity across the U.S.as police departments look to solve public perception problems, and to protect officers.

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".

The Axon name comes from Taser's unit that sells police body cameras, patrol auto cameras and the software for managing the hours of digital footage they generate. In the scuffle that preceded Sterling's death, the officers' body cameras came loose and did not record the shooting.

"It's hard being a cop, and what they find when they've got a camera is it protects them from all the insane allegations", the CEO said.

Get free real-time news alerts from the Seattle Patch. Crucially, the Ferguson Police Department did not have body cameras at the time.

According to Axon, a police department could begin the one-year free trial this month, and departments can opt out of the offer at any time.

There are a few exceptions to the deal.

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For additional information on how to sign up for the offer please visit: www.axon.com/offer. After that trial period, the police departments would either send back the cameras or buy them. "That's why we're giving this opportunity to every single police officer in America.", said Rick Smith, founder and CEO of Axon.

He's convinced it'll be worth it. The company, best known for making Tasers, which are used by police across the country, is hoping that after officers learn how to use the new devices, they can offer insight into how to best implement them into every day law enforcement activity.

Axon, formerly TASER International, announced the program today. It brought in $65.6 million in net sales in 2016, up 85 percent from 2015. They can also be used in "drive stun" mode, which involves pressing the device against a person and does not incapacitate them but causes pain that is meant to force compliance.

The name change will be official in the stock market on Thursday. (Can you identify any other electric stun gun company other than Taser?) Even more worrisome is the basic relationship: The police are the customers and Taser/Axon is the vendor.

The announcement comes as part of a larger re-branding for Axon.

Smith adds that he thinks there might be some complaining from his competitors, but says: "Ultimately what we think is going to happen is that they're going to follow suit".

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