Axon’s Accelerate: An Opportunity to Learn
What we might expect in the future ...By Darrin Fulton | Jun 12, 2018
For over two decades, Axon (formerly Taser) has been an industry leader in providing law enforcement with a less lethal option to subdue aggressive subjects. With their ingenuity and advancement into body cameras, Axon continues to build on its success and grow into a company that law enforcement can use for an entire system of technology now and in the future. I recently had the privilege of attending Axon Accelerate 2018, the company’s premier showcase of not only their own products and ideas they are building on, but also a multitude of training sessions on everything from stress management, the future of policing, recruiting and retaining millennials, discipline with body cameras, as well as product demos, and the Fleet Challenge driving course, where officers were given the opportunity to drive Ford Explorers equipped with Axon products.
What It Offers
Axon has not become what they are today by staying inside the box. The company heads have come from some of the most innovative and major companies ever built, including Microsoft, Amazon, Uber, and Google. They have come together along with Axon designers, engineers, and specialists to go far beyond the pale with new ideas.
Founder Rick Smith gave the welcoming keynote speech which was not only energetic, but inspiring in terms of his plans for the company to not only continue down the path of growth that Axon has seen, but to revolutionize how law enforcement does the job, making it far easier and safer. The philosophy of “10X” thinking should be something even law enforcement officers aspire to. Instead of making something 10% better, how can we make it 10 times better, or more.
Axon has set three lofty goals for itself.
1. Create a public safety nervous system where all the technology officers have at their disposal is fully integrated and interactive.
This was demonstrated through the Axon Records technology where an officer with a body cam can have a conversation with someone and important information they provide be instantly uploaded to an MDT in real time including an ID scan, talk to text, vehicle upload, and more, reducing the time that an officer needs to complete reports or take notes by a large margin. Axon’s updated fleet system has improved mounts, smaller cameras for better officer visibility, night vision for rear compartment cameras, and easily connects with other Axon products to create an integrated system.
2. Reduce conflict through transparency, with body cam technology that will help influence behavior, not only with how officers respond to a situation, but also by making the public aware that they are being recorded and reduce their level of anxiety or want to create conflict with officers.
3. Make the bullet obsolete with a goal to improve their technology to the point that Axon products can outperform a handgun within the next ten years.
Axon is also extremely confident in the production and use of artificial intelligence (AI). The company already uses robots to complete mundane tasks in their manufacturing plant, such as moving boxes and winding the wires of taser cartridges. Tasers, bodycams, and other products are all built by hand. They plan on creating a training platform using both AI and virtual reality for officers that would make those long hours of sitting at a table listening to someone drone on completely obsolete and much more interactive.
The company is also working on a program that would maximize officers time on the streets by allowing crime reports to be done in real time without making an officer write or type, while an analyzing program runs in the background making sure that the information input is correct, which would then reduce the amount of time that supervisors and records personnel must spend on reports as well.
If all of that is not enough, there are two more areas that Axon is excelling with. The first is Axon Citizen, which uses Evidence.com technology to allow citizens to aid law enforcement anonymously, which will hopefully increase the amount of information that officers are provided and will lead to the solvability of more crimes more quickly. The platform allows citizens with photos, videos, or information to input that information onto a website linked to the police department, only accessible by law enforcement personnel. The story was told of a city whose department is currently utilizing Axon Citizen. A severe hit and run had occurred. Within 30 minutes, officers were provided with photos of the vehicle, driver, and where the vehicle was located, which resulted in the apprehension of the driver and the vehicle. The input information could then be linked to the reports for detectives investigations.
This would also work for security video leading to less time officers have to spend collecting the video or recording it from a device at a home or business.
Through a partnership with DJI, a manufacturer of drones, Axon was proud to introduce Axon Air, a division that will be creating unmanned aerial vehicles to help make officers safer and provide more information quicker than police helicopters.
The drones are capable of live feed, providing real time information, especially useful in foot pursuits, or locating lost individuals. Recently, Scottsdale, Ariz., PD while searching for a multiple homicide suspect was able to use a drone to assist in clearing hotel rooms to keep officers out of danger.
Axon is on the cutting edge of technology and ideas with new products and future products that are in the works. Axon Accelerate to learn. I’d recommend it to officers, but also supervisors, commanders, and department IT personnel. The conference has only been occurring for three years but has doubled in attendance every year. This year there were representatives from not only all 50 states, but also 10 other countries resulting in around 1,500 attendees.
Axon is all about making the job of law enforcement both safer and easier. I was honored to attend the Axon Rise Awards luncheon, during which seven sworn and civilian members of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department were recognized for their heroism, calmness, and willingness to rush into hell to assist victims and save lives. Axon also gave a $10,000 donation to the Nevada Injured Officers Fund in honor of the off-duty officer who lost his life during the tragic events of the October 1, 2017 active shooter incident.
If you can attend, do it. Axon will continue to lead and continue to expand into new areas of law enforcement products. Law enforcement agencies around the world can only hope one day this will lead to the end of officer deaths, crimes solved much more quickly, and a much easier way for officers to take care of the citizens they serve.