A Name Change for Taser, Free Body Cams for Cops
Newly branded Axon offering police departments trial run for cameras, software
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 6, 2017 8:40 AM CDT
Taser the brand will stay, but Axon is the new name for the company.   (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)

(Newser) – Does this mean we now have to say a suspect was "Axoned"? In a rebranding move meant to put some distance between the Taser International company and its famous stun gun, the firm is changing its name, Reuters reports. Although CEO Rick Smith says his team is "proud" of the Taser brand—which will still grace products from its lucrative weapons unit, worth about 75% of the company's $268.2 million in revenue in 2016—he says the name can be "polarizing" and a detriment when they're trying to hawk their other products, including those under the Axon umbrella, which includes body cameras for cops, as well as cameras for police vehicles and the software needed to run them. "We don't want to be having the Taser debate every time we talk about something else," he notes.

And so what Gizmodo calls the company's new "Orwellian" name will be Axon, with a special deal added into the mix, per the AP: Police departments can try Axon body cams for free for a year, including its management software. The departments will pay full price if they decide to hang onto the equipment after the trial is up, or if there's damage. One high-profile department has already rejected the offer: The New York Daily News reports the NYPD won't be accepting Axon's invite, with an NYPD official noting it would be "inappropriate" per the department's procurement rules. Instead, the NYPD has chosen to purchase body cams from VIEVU, which said in a statement that Axon's offering is "at best unethical and at worst illegal," as it could leave police departments with unusable raw camera data at the end of the trial if they don't purchase the software. (Do stun guns spur false confessions?)

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