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Police in 3 States Test, Adopt Taser Wearable Camera

Device comes from Taser Corp., manufacturers of the ubiquitous electric stun gun.

The company that manufacturers the electric stun gun police use to incapacitate suspects is supplying police departments in at least three states with a wearable video camera for testing or purchase, the firm says.

Taser Corp., which produces the stun gun of the same name, is providing the new Taser Axon Personal Camera System to police departments in Bal Harbour, Fla.; Burnsville, Minn., which is among several Minnesota law enforcement organizations that are trying out, or have fully adopted the camera, including the Minnesota State Police; and Mesa and Phoenix, Ariz., which are also among several Arizona police departments to be testing or have adopted the cameras.

Primarily worn on an officer’s shoulder, the Taser Axon contains internal digital storage is 16 GB of flash memory recording events at 30 frames per second, and has the capacity to provide about 28 hours of recording capability. It even records the wearers Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates. It has a 12-hour rechargeable battery with a Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) screen.

The Taser Axon can save an officer’s career against false complaints, excessive force claims, and civil rights violations in which an officer can go to prison, according to Taser. The unit eliminates the he said/she said issue and replaces it with objectivity and facts, the company says.

Bal Harbour is conducting a test of the system, and police Captain Leo Quinn says the department is looking for new ways to improve service and interaction with the community, and the Taser Axon seems like something that could work well.

Burnsville Officer Shaun Anselment says the Axon allows police officials to see what officers did and what suspects did. In addition, the Burnsville Fire Department is considering acquiring the Axon for its firefighters.

Six Mesa officers have been using the Axon since February 2011, and SWAT officers are also expected to test them. In addition, about 18 Phoenix officers are wearing Axons during a 90-day trial, which began March 2011. The Phoenix pilot program was spurred by the recommendation of a task force created after a March 2010 controversy over an officer’s confrontation and handcuffing of a Phoenix councilman. Both agencies are testing the technology for free.