Sunday, May 3, 2015

2015 is our Superbowl says TASER

One of the popular solutions to police brutality seems simple.  Film the police.  (Another is non-lethal weapons like Tasers, but that is not entirely true either) Pass laws that put a body camera on every officer when they are on duty.  There's the study from California that "proves" how great they are at reducing violence by police and complaints by the public.

Although many police accountability activists argue for body cameras, we also acknowledge, even before Eric Garner, that video alone is not enough to guarantee justice.

Back in December Obama was considering asking for $263 million to study and buy body cameras. Now the program is still going forward, but the total has dropped to $75 million over 3 years.
The Justice Department announced it is providing $20 million to police departments for body cameras, the first installment in a three-year program budgeted at $75 million.
"Body-worn cameras hold tremendous promise for enhancing transparency, promoting accountability and advancing public safety for law enforcement officers and the communities they serve," Attorney General Loretta Lynch said.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the program will help jurisdictions with the purchase of 50,000 body-worn cameras and provide evaluations of how well the program works.
Hillary Clinton is on board
Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday that the United States should make sure every police department has body cameras.
clarification of what the program will do (DOJ press release and fact sheet, however here are the full details by BJA)
The federal funding will match local funds and be available only to departments that already have body camera policies in place, the Justice Department said in a fact sheet.
It will match funds dedicated to buying cameras and training police on how to use them, but not for storage of the footage they capture, which can often make up the bulk of the cost.
Applicants for grant money for body cameras have to meet the requirements and apply before June 16th to be eligible.

The Program will be run by
the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) under the Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP)
So everyone agrees moving forward with funding body cameras for police is a great idea to address police brutality and civilian complaints, including TASER, the non-lethal weapon maker and body camera company.

2014 Annual Report 
Our bookings of new business grew nearly 300% from $14 million in 2013 to $57 million in 2014. And we won every major city account which made a new system selection for wearable video in 2014.
We have said that 2015 is our Superbowl; we are out to win the largest accounts in the United States in on-officer video and to enable our platform to become the first technology platform that is ubiquitous across the public safety community. Growth is exciting but in truth, our zeal for technology is based on our passion for what our customers do every single day: protecting life and protecting truth. 
Luke Larson is the Chief Marketing Officer and President of TASER since April 6th 2015 and is an Iraq war veteran.  But why is he getting 10,000 stock shares base on how much body camera footage is uploaded to TASER's website?

see footnote for Luke Larson (page 35, PDF page 43)
(9) These stock awards are performance-based, and vest in full when a specified threshold is met related to camera video uploads into
What IS the threshold?

TASER's video discussing their own grant program for police explains that storing body camera footage on dvds is clumsy when you need to share footage as evidence.  It also prevents Luke Larson from getting his threshold met.

Bloomberg: May 1, 2015 TASER stock "closed at a 10-year high Friday as the federal government said it planned to spend $20 million on such devices for police departments.....The shares rose 7.2 percent to close at $32.37 on Friday, their highest point since December 2004.

SCANDAL! Yahoo: "Abandoning a practice that has faced criticism, Taser International will no longer hire police chiefs with whom it has business relationships within weeks or months after they leave public service......In all three cases, their departments had signed major contracts with Taser to purchase body cameras and video storage software, Within months, the former chiefs were paid to travel and speak about how those tools were the future of policing"

Atlantic The Big Money in Police Body Cameras: Taser International stands to profit enormously from the country's fast adoption of police-worn cameras.

CNETUnrest in Baltimore means big business for Taser
shares have risen more than 160 percent since the August shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. -- better than some of the largest tech companies in Silicon Valley, including Apple, whose iPhones propelled its shares more than 36 percent over the same time, and video streaming service Netflix, whose shares have risen nearly 25 percent. Shares of a Taser competitor, Digital Ally, have risen nearly fourfold.
Let TASER make money for a good product.  But there has to be more competition.  They are cornering the market right now.

Can we do public safety without capitalism (and politics) please? Once?

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