A new smart holster design could make police body cameras more responsive in the moments they’re needed most: when an officer draws their firearm.
TASER, the company behind the stun guns used by law enforcement officers around the world, recently introduced the Axon Signal Sidearm. It’s a small wireless sensor that detects when a weapon is removed from its holster and immediately initiates recording on connected cameras in a 30-foot range.
The Sidearm, which the company says is compatible with most firearm holsters, is the latest smart device in the Axon Signal line. The tech allows police officers to go about their business without manually activating their body cams, since actions like turning on a patrol car’s light bar, opening car doors or charging a TASER battery automatically trigger the recording function.
Systems like these could make law enforcement’s use of body cameras a more seamless process, rather than tasking officers with the responsibility of pressing a button or instituting an “always on” recording policy.
The Sidearm isn’t perfect, though, especially when it’s used alone. Since the cameras are only engaged when a gun is drawn, events leading up to that moment aren’t recorded. If the purpose of body cams is to help establish higher levels of transparency in policing, knowing exactly what made an officer take the step of pulling a gun is just as important as getting the footage after the fact.