Axon Launches Citizen Evidence Gathering Tool
Scottsdale-based Axon, the company formerly known as Taser International, is launching a new program that aims to help law enforcement agencies collect and filter evidence from community members. Axon Citizen will allow people to upload photos or videos, and police departments to call for evidence for crimes under investigation.
“We know that law enforcement agencies have been collecting evidence from the community for a while,” said Noah Spitzer-Williams, principal product manager for Axon. “But we also have learned in talking to many of them that it’s a really expensive and tedious process — there’s a lot of inefficiencies in it.”
Spitzer-Williams said when someone uploads evidence, the system will triage it and help officers determine what may be helpful and what may not be. He said it’d be tough for individual agencies to do something like this on their own.
“It’s pretty logistically difficult for agencies to set them up. There’s a lot of infrastructure that’s involved, and they often don’t come with those triage tools that I mentioned. So, they might be trying to solve the problem of collecting evidence from the communities, but then once these agencies have all this evidence, it becomes incredibly difficult to manage," he said.
Spitzer-Williams said the uploaded photos and videos will live on Evidence.com, which is an evidence management tool from Axon. He said the firm has several cybersecurity layers in place.
“These community submissions sit on the exact same platform as our body-worn video. So all the same security mechanisms all apply to the community evidence," he said.
Spitzer-Williams said there are a few agencies who are already lined up to start using Axon Citizen, although the company’s not ready to name them yet. He expects a bigger rollout toward the end of this year and the beginning of 2018.
For more on this, I’m joined by Kevin Robinson. He spent more than 35 years with the Phoenix Police Department and is now a lecturer at ASU in the Criminal Justice Program.