Who’s Profiting from Police Body Cameras? The Company that Makes Taser Guns

Thursday, March 05, 2015
Retired Fort Worth Police Chief Jeffery Halstead speaks at Taser conference on body cameras (AP photo)

One of the largest makers of stun guns has found a new way to make money off police departments: body cameras.


With agencies rushing to buy cameras for officers in the wake of the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, Taser International has broadened its sales with deals for the cameras. The company announced this week that it has signed deals with 16 law enforcement agencies for its AXON body-worn video cameras. It also sells a cloud-based software system, EVIDENCE.com, for departments to store and manage footage captured by the cameras, which Taser proudly says is used by more than 25% of law enforcement agencies in the country.

The Associated Press has reported that some police departments have invested in Taser’s body cameras after their chiefs forged “financial ties” with the manufacturer, “raising conflict-of-interest questions.”

“Taser is covering airfare and hotels for police chiefs who speak at promotional conferences and is hiring recently retired chiefs as consultants, sometimes months after their cities signed contracts with the company,” AP’s Ryan Foley wrote. The police chief in Fort Worth, Texas, even told a Taser official in an email that he deserved “a raise” for lobbying his department to sign a contract with the company.


Taser has recently concluded sales agreements with police, sheriff and college public safety departments in Missouri, Virginia, Georgia, Arizona, Florida, Texas, New York, California and Idaho.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Body-Camera Maker Has Financial Ties To Police Chiefs (by Ryan Foley, Associated Press)

Tucson Becomes 16th Major City to Deploy TASER’s AXON Body Cameras; Selects New EVIDENCE.com Unlimited Plan (Taser International)


Nemo 1 year ago
It would also be interesting to know how many police executives have bought or been given Taser stock options- as well as when and for how long they've been shareholders. Knowing that, the conflict of interest allegations could deepen even further. Going back to when the first 26-Watt weapons were introduced in 1999, co-opting cops was part of the business model for the company.

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