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Calif. PD to use device that automatically activates BWCs when firearm is drawn

The Axon Signal Sidearm uses a magnet to detect when an officer’s firearm has been removed, which then activates their body camera


The TASER 7, from Axon Technologies, triggers a body cam recording when a police officer arms his TASER.

Photo/TASER International

By Anne Berleant

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A device that automatically switches on body cameras when an officer’s weapon is drawn will soon be in use at the Sacramento Police Department, according to ABC 10.

The department has ordered Axon Signal Sidearms for its officers along with the TASER 7, which also triggers bodycam recordings when an officer’s TASER is armed and can be deployed up to 22 feet.

“We train to activate all of our equipment, but to automate these things to make sure that we don’t have any gaps in our transparency is really important to us,” Chad Lewis, spokesperson for the Sacramento Police Department, said.

The expanded 22-foot reach of TASER 7 will provide greater officer safety, Axon instructor John Tinder said at an Axon technology fair held last week in the department’s parking lot.

“That 22 feet is giving that safety for the officers and then also letting them have the time to decide, ‘OK, how are we going to address this? How are we going to approach this?’” Tinder noted.

Sacramento Police Department policy requires officers to record with their body-worn cameras “during investigations and enforcement activity, including evidence collection.” There’s also a separate policy for in-car cameras.