News from America of a new technical innovation designed to try to make police officers more accountable when firing (or drawing) their gun.
A new smart holster design could make police body cameras more responsive in the moments they’re needed most: when an officer draws their firearm.
Systems like these could make law enforcement’s use of body cameras a more seamless process, rather than tasking officers with the responsibility of pressing a button or instituting an “always on” recording policy.
- The Signal Sidearm attaches to an officer’s existing firearm holster without interfering with normal operation.
- The device is wireless and does not risk cables and wires getting in the way of officers when on duty.
- Once a firearm is drawn, the sensor is triggered and alerts all Axon cameras within a 30-foot range to begin recording. The signal communicates with the full line of Axon cameras including Axon Body 2, Axon Flex 2, and Axon Fleet in-car cameras.
- The Signal Sidearm is compatible with most existing firearm holsters.
- The coin cell battery that operates the device lasts approximately 1.5 years and automatically alerts the user via the Axon network if the battery is low.
I’m not sure that technical innovation is always the answer to such a profoundly serious issue as police over-use of their firearms, particularly in the US against Black people. Nevertheless, anything that makes an officer think seriously about firing at another human being has to be welcomed.
The one obvious downside to the Sidearm is that, on its own, it can only trigger a recording of what happens after a gun is drawn. Although valuable, it does mean that the critical events leading up to that moment are not recorded so it is impossible to assess whether the officer was under threat or had shouted a warning, for instance.
[Please note this is not the same system as the smart guns on general sale which are supposedly locked to an individual owner and which were recently claimed to have been hacked by using cheap magnets.]
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