Has law enforcement changed over time? Certainly. However, what’s truly remarkable is that it takes disruptive technology — a truly revolutionary breakthrough technology to do so. Take a look a what disruptive technologies have done for law enforcement, from firearms, to communications, to fingerprints in the timeline graphic below. Then take a gander at what TASER technology has done with its TASER ECDs — not just a law enforcement response to resistance tools but their built-in accountability features and camera accessories as well.
In the 1990s only special supervisors or a designated SWAT team member used TASER devices. When we rolled out our TASER ECDs in 1998 we told law enforcement we would eventually have them on the belts of ALL patrol officers. That mighty bold statement received countless collective chuckles, smiles, laughter, and even some snide remarks. For us, it continued to fuel our passion here at TASER International.
FAST-forward to 2012 and there are now over 16,000 law enforcement agencies out of 18,000 in the U.S. that now have TASER ECDs. They are used in over 107 countries.
Revolutionary? By all means. But remember, to be revolutionary there must be pain points, learning curves and paradigm shifts. It also means controversy will necessarily come up, otherwise it wouldn’t be revolutionary.
Already, former critics, which two year ago said, “No way our officers will wear these,” are now saying, “It’s coming and may be faster than you think. There is nothing you can do to stop it.” Others are saying, it’s the “wave of the future” while others are saying, they don’t want to be one of the last agencies without it.
Who knows, this might be yet another tipping point for another law enforcement technology revolution.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., October 1, 2012 — TASER International, Inc. (NASDAQ: TASR), announced Saturday at the International Association of Chiefs of Police Foundation’s (IACP Foundation) Sixth Annual Fundraising Gala that it donated $300,000 in funds from its TASER Foundation to an IACP Foundation/TASER Fallen Officer Fund.
TASER also announced that the IACP Foundation will assume day-to-day management of the former TASER Foundation funds, including disbursement of grants to impacted families. The alliance is prompted by the organizations’ shared mission of supporting the law enforcement community and IACP’s deep global experience in foundation management.
“We are proud to entrust this significant donation to the IACP Foundation,” said Rick Smith, CEO and founder of TASER International, Inc., “because its leaders set the bar for effective, compassionate investing on behalf of officers around the world. The research, training and education provided by the IACP Foundation is best-in-class, and we believe that integrating our foundations will greatly enhance TASER’s ability to improve lives and promote officer safety within our professional community, across the globe. We felt that the IACP Foundation’s mission to support injured and fallen officers and their families, protect the safety of officers, and support the goals and programs of the IACP was a near perfect match for our own mission to protect life,” concluded Smith.
“We are thrilled to accept this generous donation from TASER and to align our philanthropic efforts going forward,” said Bart R. Johnson, IACP executive director and co-chair of the IACP Foundation. “For almost a decade, the TASER Foundation has honored the service and sacrifice of state, local and federal law enforcement officers in the United States and Canada, and IACP will continue TASER’s legacy. The significant funding provided by TASER today will help the IACP Foundation serve thousands of our colleagues, enabling them to stay safe, recover, retrain and be remembered.
TASER International, Inc. established the TASER Foundation for Fallen Officers in November 2004, to honor the service and sacrifice of local and federal law enforcement officers in the United States and Canada lost in the line of duty by providing financial support to their families.
The initial endowment of $1 million came from TASER International, Inc. and the direct contributions of TASER International employees. To date, the TASER Foundation has awarded more than $3 million to more than 1000 families of fallen law enforcement officers in the United States and Canada.
About International Association of Chiefs of Police Foundation
The Mission of the IACP Foundation is to support injured and fallen officers and their families, protect the safety of officers, and support the goals and programs of the IACP. The Foundation is committed to creating a culture of officer safety, health and wellness by supporting IACP efforts that prevent officer injury and honoring the sacrifice made by the men and women of law enforcement.
Let’s review excessive force for a moment. Clearly, this is the bane of existence of any community as there are no winners when this occurs. Many times it happens when there is no evidence available to back up an law enforcement officer when it becomes a “she said/he said case. An article from the Denver Post entitled “Denver police paid $1.34 million in 2011 to settle excessive-force lawsuits,” showed just how costly this is for cities.
Note the average dollar pay out per officer per year to settle use of force cases:
• Denver – $697 per year per officer
• Chicago – $2,930 per year per officer
• Los Angeles – $2,200 per year per officer
• Philadelphia – $1,360 per year per officer
If any of you reading this aren’t saying, “HOLY SMOKES!” — well you should be as this is a tremendous waste and cost to taxpayers.
Perhaps, it’s important to discuss the future of policing technologies. We know statistically that use of TASER ECDs reduces injuries to officers AND suspects (US DOJ Report) so we know TASER ECDs can make a difference but they have to be in the hands of all patrol officers for maximum effectiveness for this reduction. Most suspects won’t wait for a supervisor to show up (just ask a local cop.)
But there can me more that can be done to reduce these claims. For one, better policies and enhanced scenario-based training — not just for TASER ECD usage but for all reponses to resistance. Agencies can also make sure they have TASER CAM recorders that record the use of any TASER ECD deployment.
Finally, let’s discuss the one other technique that can help — on-officer videos that record from the officer’s point of view like our TASER AXON on-office camera. Before you say this is a TASER sales pitch take a moment to see what the City of Burnsville, MN did with their AXON cameras at Burnsville Police Department. Want proof? Watch this progressive law enforcement ageny’s video they put on YouTube — the proof is in the pudding: http://bit.ly/wxL0nS
It’s time that taxpayers demand to get more return on their investments for safer communities at a lower cost. You can be sure that TASER is doing all it can to make that our mission.
If you don’t think video is the solution then perhaps you should know that an International Association of Police Chief’s survey has statistical data that indicates that 96.2 percent of the time, the recording of the event exonerated the officer of the allegation or complaint. That alone is worth the costs and more than provides a return on investment.
We’re all aware of how succesful in-car cameras have been in resolving law enforcement he said/she said situations. Law enforcement has readily adopted in-car cameras or dash cams because they’ve seen police video benefits & benefits of video evidence in general. A November 2006 IACP report showed statistical data indicating that 96.2 percent of the time, the video recording of an event exonerated the officer of the allegation or complaint.
You might not realize this but 90% of an officer’s job occurs outside the view of their dash cameras. Because of this, the TASER CAM & now TASER AXON are the future of law enforcement.
In 2006, we launched our TASER CAM recorders to provide that missing coverage outside the scope of the front windshield of an in-car camera and specifically to when TASER ECDs were aimed at suspects. The success of these cameras eventually led to our role as the number one provider of on-officer cameras with more than 50,000 TASER CAMs in use at 2,683 law enforcement agencies.
The evolution is a replacement of many of the in-car cameras with an on-officer camera system. In 2008 we launched the AXON on-officer camera. In one of its very first pilot programs this camera exonerated a Ft. Smith officer involved in a deadly shooting event in 11 days and proved to go where no dash cam has gone before.
We’re all familiar with the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” What do you think a video’s worth for preventing false claims, protecting law enforcement officer’s reputations, preventing excessive force claims, litigation, transparency, and accountability?