Taser International is announcing a new a camera for police, a half-ounce unit about the size of a cigar stub that clips on to a collar or sunglasses of an officer and can record two hours of video during a shift, the New York Times reports. The information eventually is stored in a cloud-computing system that uses Taser's online evidence management system. Taser has had its share of controversies over its electric-shock guns, which the firm says are used by 17,000 of the 18,000 U.S. law enforcement agencies.
The camera system, called Axon, is one way to defuse the controversies. Taser already has some 55,000 minicameras mounted on Tasers. But the camera is only triggered when the gun is drawn. It could do the same for police shootings. The video, however, would not capture the events leading up to that point and provides no context that might justify the weapon's use. “One big reason to have these is defensive,” says Taser CEO Rick Smith. “Police spend $2 billion to $2.5 billion a year paying off complaints about brutality. Plus, people plead out when there is video.”