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Axon releases new features to improve police performance, transparency

The centerpiece of the rollout is “Priority-Ranked Video Audit” software, which uses AI to quickly identify “needle in the haystack” events among hours of bodycam footage

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An Akron detective holds an Axon body-worn camera used by Akron police officers.

Karen Schiely/Akron Beacon Journal

By Police1 Staff

Axon has announced a suite of new products aimed to improve police performance and increase transparency.

The new products strive to provide agencies with the tools to implement daily training processes, while helping build police-community trust by making body-worn camera footage more accessible.

In an interview with CNN, Axon CEO Rick Smith said, “We are working on really important social problems. We do have a responsibility to do it right.”

The initiative, called Sprint for Justice, offers eight new features that range from duty-to-intercede training and use-of-force reporting.

The centerpiece of the rollout is “Priority-Ranked Video Audit” software, which uses AI to quickly identify significant encounters among hours of bodycam footage.

The algorithm can identify key words, like slurs and profanity, and actions like unholstering a firearm.

“We’re looking forward to testing the new Priority-Ranked Video Audit feature to help give our supervisors the ability to find the needles in the haystack of body-worn camera footage,” said Cherry Hill (New Jersey) Police Department’s Chief of Police, William Monaghan in a statement. “Not only will it save us time, but by surfacing issues that need attention, it will support our ability to uphold the individual rights and dignity for all people in our community.”

Sprint for Justice features include:

  • Priority-ranked video audit: Automatically ranks videos for supervisor review based on keywords that are transcribed from the audio of body camera videos, such as offensive or agency-selected keywords, as well as on events such as unholstering a firearm or arming a TASER device.

  • Use of force dashboard: Allows agencies to access interactive reports on use of force incidents in real time within Axon Standards to drive compliance and empower better training.

  • Virtual reality peer intervention training: Helps prepare officers with VR training to intervene and handle high-stakes, challenging situations with colleagues.

  • Hypermedia markers: Automatically flags key events captured on body camera for review in Axon Evidence, such as when a TASER device was armed or when a firearm was removed from its holster.

  • Replay coaching: Enables officers to request feedback on any incident captured on body camera from agency-designated coaches to help promote a culture of ongoing learning and development.

  • Publish to social media: Allows police agencies to easily publish approved body camera videos to their social media pages and channels for increased speed and transparency.

“Technology is not a panacea but it can have an outsized impact on creating a world where everyone feels safe,” said Axon CEO and founder Rick Smith in a company statement. “We have the privilege to imagine how the world can and should be different and we have the capability to create and drive that change.”

As part of Sprint for Justice, Axon leveraged its ethics framework established by the Axon AI and Policing Technology Ethics Board to ensure the products were developed responsibly. The company has also committed to listening to community members by launching a forthcoming Community Coalition.

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