TASER International has introduced what it calls TASER 3.0, an evidence recording and storage solution centered on the AXON tactical computer.
Saying that "we are expanding our vision," TASER International CEO Rick Smith told a Web audience that the company has developed the AXON and its new Evidence.com video storage solution to protect officers on the streets and in the courtroom "until the last gavel drops."
The AXON tactical computer is a three-element body-worn evidence recording system.
It captures video and audio through the HeadCam, a lightweight headset similar to a behind-the-head jogging headphone. The camera is designed to capture any incident from the same perspective as the wearer's eyes.
The second element is the Com Hub (Communications Hub), which links the AXON computer to the HeadCam and the officer's radio. This cigarette lighter-sized component is designed to attach to the officer's shirt and feature push-to-talk, start/stop event record, and privacy buttons.
Both the HeadCam and the Com Hub connect to the AXON tactical computer, a body-worn, Linux-operated processor that features a 4.3-inch touchscreen. The AXON has a 12-hour rechargeable battery and is designed to not only store data from the HeadCam but also play back the video and allow the officer to make an audio report. The officer cannot delete or alter the video. The AXON tactical computer is upgradeable and TASER says future upgrades to the system could include license plate recognition and facial recognition.
The AXON system is the video capture and storage system for the officer in the field. Once the officer returns to the station and goes off shift, he or she downloads the video from the AXON by placing it in the Synapse Evidence Transfer Manager (ETM). Each Synapse ETM can download and recharge 24 AXON units.
TASER's Synapse ETM system serves as the front end of the evidence management solution that the company calls Evidence.com. An offsite data storage system, Evidence.com will be operated by a company that runs storage solutions for sensitive military data.
The Evidence.com system is scheduled to launch this summer with 100 petabytes (100 billion megabytes) of initial capacity. TASER says the system is scalable and it will never run out of space. In this week's Web presentation, TASER CEO Smith promised that Evidence.com would be secure, 128-bit encrypted, redundant, geographically dispersed, and fault tolerant.
Smith says that access to the data on Evidence.com will be controlled by each agency that subscribes to the system. TASER spokesman Steve Tuttle added that even the people operating the system can't see the data that the users are uploading to the servers.
As demonstrated by Smith, Evidence.com is designed to be more than just a storage system. It's also a tool that allows supervisors and chiefs to view incidents on their PCs. Officers in the field can mark certain videos and even key moments of certain incident videos so the chief or unit supervisor can view them. By using Evidence.com's Chief's Dashboard feature, the chief can watch video from the perspective of every officer on the scene of the incident. The chief can also listen to the officer's narration and read supervisor notes on the Chief's Dashboard.
Evidence.com was developed by TASER's new TASER Virtual Systems subsidiary. Smith said the subsidiary was established as a separate software development company to build the back end of the AXON system because TASER realized that AXON was both a hardware and a software product.
TASER says AXON will be available in the third quarter of this year. Each AXON system will sell for $1,700. For every 24 AXON units TASER will supply the agency with a free Synapse ETM (installation is $1,000). A subscription to Evidence.com is $100 per month per unit for 500 hours of video. In order to use AXON, an agency must subscribe to Evidence.com.
Smith says that any agency that equips its officers with AXON will recoup the cost in a very short period of time from less litigation, fewer complaints, and improved officer safety. "People behave less provocatively when they are on video," Smith says.
TASER has set up a program to help agencies buy AXON and other TASER equipment with economic stimulus grants. Interested agencies can contact TASER by writing to [email protected] and providing the company with information on how many officers work in the agency, how many X-26 TASERs are deployed by the agency, and the number of patrol vehicles in service at the agency. Deadlines for stimulus grant applications are fast approaching.-David Griffith