Axon announces new products to improve police efficiencies, community safety

Offerings range from peer intervention virtual reality training to a transformed 911 experience

By Nancy Perry

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — In conjunction with its Accelerate conference, held virtually this year, Axon made several new product announcements detailing technology offerings to help transform police training, communications and efficiencies.

Accelerate Evidence Review with Axon Auto-Transcribe

With today’s increased adoption of body-worn cameras, agencies are faced with two major challenges: reviewing massive amounts of video evidence to find the evidence that is pertinent to the investigation; and quickly and accurately transcribing video evidence so it can move through the justice system.

Historically, evidence has been reviewed as two separate streams – audio and video. Axon's Auto-Transcribe, the company's second AI-powered product, unifies the audio and video so it can be viewed together creating a clearer picture of what happened.

"Investigators would complete an interview with a victim, then spend probably three, four hours transcribing," said Rowlett PD Lieutenant Steve Ferrie. "Finding a solution for transcribing became a top priority – it's taking up too much time for the investigators. With Axon Auto-Transcribe, we estimate a 65-75% time savings just by being able to push a button to get a transcript. Our investigators can listen to the evidence and make changes in a fraction of the time."

Axon Respond deploys the right help at the right time

Axon Respond is a cloud-based platform that combines real-time awareness (like live streaming) with modern communications (like talk-to-text) to drive response times and reduce escalations. It offers a transformed 911 experience that allows the right help to be deployed to the right place by connecting patrol officers, field sergeants and tactical officers who currently work in data silos.

Imagine a use case when an officer is called to a scene involving a mentally ill person: Axon Respond will allow for real-time visibility into the situation and expedite communications to get the right people, like a social worker, to the scene.

"There's a wealth of advanced technological innovation offered to public safety agencies today, but limitations arise if that tech is being deployed on a platform that is decades old," said Axon CEO and founder, Rick Smith. "With Axon Respond, we are completely reinventing the system by making it easy for dispatchers, patrols officers, field sergeants and tactical teams to communicate and collaborate in order to achieve the best possible outcome for their communities."

Virtual Reality Peer Intervention

Axon also announced six new training scenarios for its Axon Virtual Reality Training program, including officer intervention training. One scenario features a noise complaint call involving a resident who has had previous run-ins with the police. The second scenario features a homeless man who is panhandling on business property. In both scenarios, the trainee must decide which decisions to make while working with a fellow officer who demonstrates an obvious bias towards the suspects.

"Knowing when and how to stand up to your peers can be difficult in any industry – but especially in policing when faced with potentially volatile situations," said former police chief and current Axon AI Ethics Board member, Kathleen O'Toole. "This immersive training will be very impactful as it will train officers to recognize when peers are acting inappropriately and empower them to intervene properly, resulting in successful, non-violent outcomes."

Other VR training scenarios in development include post-traumatic stress injury (PTSI) training for both community members and officers, Alzheimer’s/dementia training and hard of hearing training.

"After the events of this year, and the many tragic events that preceded 2020, it is clear that we need to offer law enforcement proactive versus reactive tools for reducing use of force," said Rick Smith. "Being trained on when not to deploy force is just as important as tactical training on how to deploy force, and that is what we are addressing with these new training modules. Our mission has always been to protect life and this training is a big step towards that goal."

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