When you hear Taser, you immediately think of stun guns. The company who produces them has become so synonymous with their namesake product that it can overshadow other lines they have. But Taser’s stock has surged over 30 percent in the last two weeks due to a different product- their wearable video cameras.
Judge Shira Scheindlin recently ruled in New York’s federal court that the New York Police Department’s controversial stop-and-frisk strategy unlawfully targeted blacks and Latinos, according to CNN. One of several ordered changes is a one year pilot program that would equip some NYPD officers with wearable cameras.
Sales on Tasers Axon video cameras tripled during the second quarter and analysts think the ruling on stop-and frisk could help make wearable video cameras a standard for police nationwide.
While New York City is appealing the judge’s ruling, cameras are gaining traction with other police departments around the country. A study by the Police Foundation showed there were less than half as many incidents involving the use of force during police shifts when the cameras were used than without cameras. And there was an almost 90 percent drop in the number of police complaints from civilians.
The cameras are so small they can be attached to a collar, cap or even the side of an officer’s sunglasses. The devices have high-capacity battery packs that can last for an extended shift and all videos are uploaded automatically to a central server.
Some officers have voiced “big brother” concerns, wondering why they needed to be constantly monitored. Others pointed out that with the widespread use of cell phones to record interactions, it is better that police also keep their own account of incidents. The goal is to benefit all parties. The public is protected from police misconduct and officers are protected from bogus complaints.
What do you think about the use of wearable cameras in the police force? Are they an improvement or an unnecessary addition? We’d love to hear from you.
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