Scottsdale company’s free body camera offer leaves police departments little choice

Apr 10, 2017, 12:30 PM | Updated: 12:54 pm
(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)...
(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

I don’t think it’s common knowledge to most of the nation that Scottsdale-based Taser is one of the biggest players in the police body camera game.

The company made some major headlines last week when it announced it was changing its name to Axon, which happens to be the name of their body cams. It’s a good move considering that the word Taser is used almost exclusively when discussing any electric shocking self-defense tool, just like Kleenex is used for any tissue that is needed to blow your nose.

But the biggest headlines came from the bold move of offering free body cams to any police departments that aren’t already on board with the technology.

It’s an offer for use of a body camera — about $400 — and one year of the company’s website and data storage, which costs between $15 and $90 per month.

Of course, once they agree to keep the hardware and technology, Axon gets paid.

It’s a page out of the drug dealer’s playbook: just a taste. But in this case, it’s for the greater good.

I think that this is a great idea. Don’t take my word for it. How about the head of the Arizona Department of Public Safety Frank Milstead? He joined Bruce St. James and Pamela Hughes last week to show his unwavering support for body cameras.

He said he has a good reason for supporting the devices: statistics.

Time and time again, body camera video shows that the police officer was conducting himself or herself properly and doing the right things while being accused of doing the wrong things. Vindication.

Which leads me to a somewhat sobering question: Why would a police officer not want a body camera? Why would a police officer not want someone to record a traffic stop, an altercation a domestic violence call?

I always tell my kids there’s no reason to hide if you’re not doing anything wrong.

It looks like body cams are here to stay. There is going to be a learning curve as well as time for complete adoption, but the ball is definitely rolling.

Thanks to our very own Axon for eliminating one of the few excuses that police departments are giving to not try this technology.

Michael Russell

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Scottsdale company’s free body camera offer leaves police departments little choice