Taser International revealed on Wednesday that not only will it change its name and ticker, but that it is launching a program to equip every U.S. police officer with a body camera, free of charge.
The law enforcement technology giant, now known as Axon, said in a press release that the program will also provide police departments with supporting hardware, software, data storage and training, all free for one year.
“We believe these cameras are more than just tools to protect communities and the officers who serve them. They also hold the potential to change police work as we know it, by seamlessly collecting an impartial record and reducing the need for endless paperwork,” Rick Smith, founder and CEO of the Arizona-based business, said in the release.
Axon’s offer comes in response to what the release classified as an increasingly challenging environment for police officers. “Limited resources, lack of staffing, and equipment issues” were among the top issues listed.
Body cameras would eliminate the need for time-consuming handwritten police reports, and combined with artificial intelligence, would streamline the reporting process for officers, the press release said.
“With this connected network of devices, apps, and people, officers can operate with confidence and focus on what matters: the people and community they serve,” the release said.
The one-year trial offer includes one Axon Body 2 camera per officer, unlimited data storage on Evidence.com, two mounts per officer, a docking station for securely uploading footage and access to Axon Academy’s entire online training library.
“Departments end up purchasing technology without the input of the people who use it every day, often with dismal results,” the release said.
Axon’s aim is to provide police departments in the United States with the technology so that officers — frontline officers in particular — can effectively try it, learn how to use it and offer insight on how best to implement it.
While Taser will remain one of the company’s trademark products, the company attributed its name and ticker change to changing times and a burgeoning business.
“We are changing our name from TASER to Axon to reflect the evolution of our company from a weapons manufacturing company to a full solutions provider of cloud and mobile software, connected devices, wearable cameras, and now artificial intelligence,” the release said.
The new ticker, AAXN, will become effective at market open on Thursday, April 6. Management will hold a conference call for investors at 6 p.m. on Wednesday.
For more on Axon, watch “Mad Money” on Wednesday at 6 p.m. EST for an interview with CEO Rick Smith.