By Aaron Rowe March 10, 2009 | 3:25:00 PM
Officers: Are you sick and tired of excessive force lawsuits? Well cheer up. Taser has a plan to give your police department its own CYA reality TV show.
The less-lethal weapons company has launched a wearable computer, called Axon, that will let cops record every minute of their day and upload it to a secure website. From there, they can share their favorite memories with friends, family, and jurors.
"Our Axon and Evidence.com technology will be a lifeline to protect truth," says Steve Tuttle, the vice president of communications for Taser.
For years, cops around the world have been accused of being a little too eager to reach out and stun someone. For example, a Denver Post report found that 90 percent of the subjects tased by the police department there were unarmed. Most times, the weapon was used to "force people to obey orders, to shortcut physical confrontations and, in several cases, to avoid having to run after a suspect." In Sarasota, officers recently tased a naked senior. In Wales, cops even zapped a bunch of sheep.
Not long ago, the less-lethal weapons company started offering a camera accessory that sits on the bottom of its people-zappers, but those devices could only record the drama that takes place once the weapon is drawn and the safety is off — so it could miss some of the most important moments.
The new camera is head-mounted, so it will record everything the user lays his eyes on. Each headset plugs into a Linux-powered computer that looks curiously similar to a PlayStation Portable, which has an LCD screen so that officers can watch instant replays of their favorite tackles and shakedowns.
When the day is done, just plug the recorder into the Synapse docking station, and all of the evidence will be automatically uploaded to Taser's pair of data warehouses via a 128-bit encrypted connection. Well, most of it, anyway. According to the Axon brochure, the system features a "One-Touch 'Privacy Mode'" which "temporarily suspends recording." In other words, cops can still work the streets — without being caught on tape.