On Friday, a handful of San Jose police officers began three months of sporting a sophisticated audio-video recording device that Chief of Police Rob Davis described as “the way of the future” for law enforcement.
Eighteen officers started wearing the AXON devices as part of a pilot program with Taser, the developer. These primarily consisted of a headset that resembled a Bluetooth earpiece with an accompanying control device worn on the chest like a radio. AXON stands for “Autonomous Extended On-Officer Network,” according to Taser.
The small digital camera perches above an officer’s left ear and can record surprisingly high-quality video and sound with the touch of a button. The participating officers are required to activate the recording any time they instigate enforcement measures with a member of the public, Davis said…
The AXON headsets can produce “best evidence,” Davis said. A photo capture of a suspect at large is far more effective than a simple physical description. Footage of a suspect committing a crime can also become valuable evidence for prosecutors.
Davis said the department has developed new policies to align the cameras’ use with existing privacy laws. When asked if witnesses or others might be less inclined to talk to officers if they are recorded, Davis said that early interactions have gone well. “They just think it’s an earpiece,” he said.
You may have noticed who produces these little devices. Any ideas about future accessories involving electricity?