In an effort to improve transparency, the Louisiana State Police (LSP) will equip Troopers statewide with body cameras. LSP announced their forthcoming statewide deployment of TASER’s “Axon Body 2” body cameras. This statewide deployment will be the first of its kind among state public safety agencies in the country. LSP intends to purchase over 1,500 body cameras with a five year unlimited system license to be utilized by uniformed Patrol Troopers.
While Trooper interactions with the public traditionally take place during traffic stops in front of their vehicles, their day-to-day activities are increasingly putting them in situations that occur away from their vehicles and out of sight of the current in-car camera system. This has increased the need for LSP to be able to document these encounters for the purposes of evidence collection and for the protection and safety of our Troopers and the public. In January of 2016, Colonel Mike Edmonson, State Police Superintendent, directed his staff to research recording devices to include body camera systems. Additionally, staff researched other law enforcement agencies’ deployment of various recording systems and the capabilities and compatibilities of the various recording systems. Twenty-two Troopers across the state successfully piloted the “Axon Body 2” cameras from February through September of this year. These Troopers’ duties ranged from foot patrol on Bourbon St. to vehicle patrols in rural communities in North Louisiana.
With the purchase of the “Axon Body 2” cameras, LSP will be able to outfit over 700 Patrol Troopers. LSP will also maintain additional cameras for replacement and for use by Troopers on special assignments. Troopers will also continue to utilize their in-car cameras in conjunction with the “Axon Body 2” cameras. Additionally, the “Axon Body 2” camera is able to integrate with and is fully compatible with the TASER X2 currently carried by Troopers.
“Nothing is more important than the safety of the public we serve and the Troopers committed to that service. We must ensure that we maintain transparency and accountability through proper training, sound procedures and the latest technology,” said Colonel Edmonson. “For nearly twenty years our Troopers have used in-car cameras to document interactions with members of the public, but I am pleased to announce that we will now be taking that capability a step further.”
“Fully deploying HD body cameras, let alone taking the innovative step of purchasing two per officer, is undoubtedly a bold move in the direction of improved accountability and officer protection,” said TASER CEO and co-founder Rick Smith. “Combine that with our Axon Signal technology, which virtually ensures that important interactions don’t go unrecorded, and you’re looking at an agency whose technology can help them go above and beyond. We commend them on being the first major, statewide agency to take these steps.”