As far as United States is concerned, there have been one too many fatal police shooting incidents. According to a data collated by The Washington Post, there had been 963 fatal force by police in the U.S. in 2016 and the number was based on news, reports, public records et cetera, and it did not include unreported incidents. This is where body cams and dashcams can help, but the question is: with body cam, can you trust the officers to turn it on, or remember to turn it on, and if the camera can continuously record that much of data?
I recall there was at least one system that syncs the data when the officer returns to the squad car, and today Taser (yes, that Taser) announced another solution: Taser Axon Signal Sidearm Alerts Body Cams From Holster. The Signal Sidearm is the first wireless sensor that alerts Axon body cameras and all Axon cameras within a 30-foot range to start rolling when a firearm or Taser Smart Weapon is removed from an officer’s holster. Everything is wireless, so there are no wires or cables to get in the way, and it is compatible to most existing firearm holsters.
Sounds like a brilliant idea? Well, maybe. The thing is, the event prior to drawing of the firearm will not be recorded, which can be crucial when inquiries into the situation running up to the shooting. From the moment the officer draws the arm and god forbids, firing, it could be a matter of seconds, which means nothing conclusive could come out of the video recording and then there’s the latency to consider, like how fast can the sensor detects, how fast the alert is passed on to the cameras and the time to take the cameras to start rolling. I know each of those may just take milliseconds but it can add up quickly.
Having said that, my guess is, Taser Axon Signal Sidearm Alerts Body Cams From Holster is only good only under normal circumstances and also on the assumption that the officer in question is cool-headed and not trigger happy. According to Top Shot Las Vegas, “experienced shooters can draw their pistol from its holster and fire it accurately at their target in less than a second,” and this pretty much leaves nothing to be recorded other than the unfortunate aftermath. We dismissed this technology as ‘useless’, but like I said, it could be good under normal circumstances.