We’re living in the age of the smart phone. The tragedy in Boston & the manhunt thereafter clearly demonstrates the value of videos & images. Without a doubt video assets provided invaluable evidence to solve this tragic incident effectively & quickly.
Decrease In Complaints
Because of Rialto PD’s extensive data gathering and controlled study, the data is compelling. Over the course of 1 year, officer complaints fell by 87.5% in the experimental group. The data shows the officers increased interactions with the public compared to the previous year, and still complaints fell dramatically.
Decrease In Use Of Force
Rialto PD also focused on their Officer use-of-force data. During the experiment, individuals wearing an AXON flex reduced use-of-force by 59%. This data indicates that the presence of the camera not only encouraged compliance from the public but it also reduced instances of use of force by officers.
What do you think? On-officer cameras appear to improve behavior on both sides of the badge. Let’s face it – no one wants to look bad on camera.
The NY Times recently published story: Wearing a Badge, and a Video Camera. It reports that the use of AXON Flex cameras can reduce complaints by 89% & use of force by nearly 60%. These findings were the result of a year long case study conducted by Chief Tony Farrar, Rialto PD, CA, in collaboration with Cambridge University Institute of Criminology.
Law enforcement pays out more than $2.5 billion dollars annually on complaints and lawsuit settlements alone. Clearly POV on-officer cameras are the video solution for accountable policing – accountable to both law enforcement agencies & the public.
The TASER sword! Interesting idea, right? The good news is that someone has made one. But that’s bad news for us. Why? We didn’t make it. So what’s in a name? TASER is a trademark: it’s only to be used to describe products made by TASER International.
So a guy invents a sword that also produces an electrical arc, he makes a video, he puts it on YouTube & titles it “TASER sword.” The video goes viral & we’ve been busy trying to correct this misuse of our trademarked brand name. Yes, we recognize that most people would realize this is just a guy who was goofing around & not an actual product made by TASER International. So why are we so diligent in trying to protect our brand name?
A company can lose their brand name. Zipper, kerosene, cellophane, nylon, thermos & escalator are common household words, but guess what? Those were all specific brands before they became generic terms for a product in general. Proprietary brand names can lose their registered trademark protection because they became so successful that they drifted into common usage & became generic. It’s like being a victim of your own success. Inappropriate use of a brand name puts the brand at risk.
What signals when a brand is at risk? When the brand name starts to be used as a verb. If we hear that a police officer ‘TASERed a non-compliant suspect,’ that seems innocuous. But pretty soon this verbal usage could drift to mean any kind of ‘shock’ from any ‘electrified stunning device.’ This would mean our brand has been become generic.
TASER’s fate. Our fate depends on the actions we take now to try to stop our brand becoming generic. The courts are influenced not just by general usage, but also by what efforts a company has made to ward off use of their trademark in generic form when deciding to declare a brand name generic or not.
This is why we’re so persistent about protecting our TASER brand name from misuse.
Can you think of any other brand names that may be at risk?
First, let’s start with the basics:
Electricity is a flow of energy, or more specifically a flow of electric charge within a conductor. That conductor can be a copper wire, or it can be the human body. Much like water flows through a pipe, electrons flow through a wire. When we measure electricity, there are two key measures – voltage, measured in volts, & current, measured in amperes.
Voltage is similar to the pressure in a water hose. The voltage provides the “pressure” to push an electric current through the wire.
Current is the measure of the actual flow of electricity – how many electrons are actually flowing through the wire.
In our analogy to flowing water, voltage is like pressure, measured in pounds per square inch. Current is the flow rate, similar to gallons per second in our water analogy.
By way of analogy, let’s compare a waterfall to rainfall. The pressure or voltage behind each droplet of water in the waterfall is actually a lot less than for each rain drop – because the rain drop is falling from a much greater height. So, the “voltage” of this waterfall is much less than for rain.
However, the rate of flow or “current” for the waterfall is much, much higher than for the rain, which falls in small droplets separated in space & time compared to the continuous flow of the waterfall. Standing under the waterfall would certainly be a very dangerous place to be – much more so than in the rain. Similarly, being exposed to a high current electrical current – like the one out of your wall outlet, can be very dangerous, even at moderate voltages like 110 volts.
Exposure to high voltage, low current shocks – such as a static discharge on a dry day, is far less dangerous. Static shocks regularly exceed 30,000 volts, yet they deliver very low amounts of electric charge, & there has never been a reported injury directly from the effects of a static shock, although there have been some secondary injuries from people who were surprised & may have fallen, etc.
When we think about electricity, the first term to come to mind is usually “volts.” This is because our electric power grid is a fixed voltage system, & is rated in volts.
However, when we talk about electricity safety, the current in amperes is much more critical than voltage. For example, a TASER CEW has about a tenth of the peak current of a static shock.
So, if voltage is not the key factor in making an electrical stimulation effective, why does a TASER CEW have a high peak voltage?
The rainfall analogy is a very good one for a TASER CEW discharge. The drops of rain are separated by time & space such that the actual “current” or flow of water down from the sky is quite small.
So, this naturally begs the question – if the TASER CEW output current is so low, how can it be effective in stopping a violent subject?
The answer is because the TASER current does not rely on brute force, or on sheer power. Instead, the CEW’s pulsed output is really an elegant approach to incapacitating violent persons. Our TASER CEW pulses mimic the electrical signals used within the human body to communicate between the brain & the muscles. It simulates the pulsed communications used within the nerves, & interferes with communication – like static on the telephone lines within the body. When the device is on, a person cannot do controlled movements.
Sometimes people will ask “Isn’t electricity dangerous?” The answer is – well yes, it can be. But electricity is actually necessary for life – we literally cannot live without it.
Electrical pulses control every thought we have, every breath we take, every sensation we feel, every sight we see, every sound we hear – every complex life process depends on these electrical signals within our bodies that occur billions of times every second.
The brain is like an incredibly complex conductor, leading a string section of incomprehensible complexity. As the brain uses electrical “pings” to stimulate the nerves in a complex & highly coordinated fashion, consciousness emerges & neuromuscular control becomes possible.
Fact: EVIDENCE.com is a total evidence management system. It manages all digital evidence including videos from Flex devices, fixed cameras, & in-car cameras. It also stores digital photographs & documents such as scanned copies of witness statements & any other type of digital reports. EVIDENCE.com also uploads & stores Trilogy logs, dataport logs, & video from our X2, X3, X26 CEWs & TASER CAM devices.
Myth: Using EVIDENCE.com adds more work to my already busy schedule.
Fact: EVIDENCE.com reduces your workload; not increase it. Case folders in EVIDENCE.com are to view, search & organize (including AXON Flex videos, documents, & other digital evidence related to a case). This streamlined evidence collection & management process allows law enforcement to spend more time protecting & serving communities. It can be stored easily using our Cloud Computing EVIDENCE.com.
Myth: My evidence won’t be admissible in court if it’s not stored on a server controlled by my agency.
Fact: Chain of custody auditing & security controls built into EVIDENCE.com help ensure that your evidence is fully admissible in court & every view, download, & edit is recorded, tracked & reportable. Our video transfer & storage meets or exceeds the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) recommended standards.
Myth: My evidence would be more secure it it is stored internally & not at an external third party location.
Fact: EVIDENCE.com protects your data through sophisticated physical & virtual access controls, encryption & audit trails. All data stored on EVIDENCE.com is stored redundantly & backed-up daily ensuring your data is accessible when you need it.
Myth: My videos on EVIDENCE.com can be viewed by anyone from TASER International, employees of the data storage center, or other agencies. TASER International could potentially sell these videos to the media.
Fact: All videos & other agency data on EVIDENCE.com can only be viewed by members of your agency and other internal & external users as designated by your agency. TASER Int’l & third party vendors have NO permitted access to view or edit your evidence.
Myth: Supervisors will check my videos to see that I am doing my job correctly.
Fact: Currently, your supervisor & other agency staff personnel have access to your video & data files as described in your agency policies. Most likely, access to your AXON Flex videos & other data stored on EVIDENCE.com will be similar to access to existing case files including videos from in-car cameras, interview rooms, etc.
Myth: Once I store my evidence at a third party facility, no matter how secure it is, it could be accessed by federal & other agencies.
Fact: Where your evidence is stored does not affect the legal access of the data by investigative agencies, FOIA requests, etc. The access is the same regardless of whether the data is stored on an agency server or in a third party storage facility.
Myth: Other officers or personnel at my agency can access all of my files on EVIDENCE.com.
Fact: All control permissions are set by your agency. In addition to designating users, each agency can control the level of access of their users. As an example, the agency can set parameters where only certain users are authorized to download a video so that a full chain of custody is always maintained.