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Sensor turns on a cop's body camera when their gun is pulled

Once triggered, any Axon-brand camera in a 30-foot radius starts recording.
David Lumb, @OutOnALumb
February 27, 2017
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Years after high-profile police shootings pressured departments across the country to adopt body cameras, results have been mixed. The increased accountability expected from their rollout has been marred with technical malfunctions or absent footage when officers fail to turn on their devices. Stun gun maker TASER wants to change this with a simple sensor that automatically turns on body cameras when an officer's gun leaves its holster.

The Signal Sidearm specifically works with cameras within TASER's Axon brand, triggering any within a 30-foot radius to start recording once a gun is drawn from a sensor-equipped holster. On one hand, it's a great way to get simultaneous synced coverage for overlapping footage from multiple angles. On the other, if recording starts only after officers pull their firearms, there's no account of the escalation.

Therefore, it's likely best as a redundant trigger when partnered with the rest of Axon's Signal sensors, which activate cameras for events like flicking on a patrol car's light bar or opening its door. But since departments still establish their own body camera systems, there's room for the same unintentional (or even deliberate) faulty setups that have kept them from becoming foolproof evidence gatherers.

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