Better Technology, Training, and Trust through Data: Axon’s Commitment to the Moonshot Goal

October 27, 2022
Rick Smith, Axon Founder & CEO

In October 2022, Axon announced that it is joining forces with law enforcement and community leaders in a moonshot goal to cut gun-related deaths between police and the public in half by 2033.

This mission does not “belong” to Axon, nor is it branded by Axon. The goal is inclusive of everyone. It will take a coalition of law enforcement leaders, rank and file officers, community leaders and community members, politicians, and other technology providers, to achieve it.

To date, we have been heartened by the the buy-in we’ve seen from partners, including the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), the African American Mayors Association (AAMA), the Major County Sheriffs of America (MCSA), the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), and the National Policing Institute and many others who are showing positive support for the movement. We are just getting started and are so grateful the moonshot is rallying such an array of organizations.

For Axon’s part, we’re all in to help achieve this moonshot. Below is an overview of our commitments.

Beyond technology: talking and listening

In an effort to drive action instead of helplessness, I have long viewed killing as a technology problem. I still believe that, and we’ll get to that in a moment.

But I also know that technology alone is not a panacea. Not only that, knowing what technology to invest in means constantly listening to public safety customers and the communities they serve.

As part of the moonshot, Axon is convening a series of roundtables to facilitate open discussions and perspective-sharing, with the goal of reaching research-based, responsible and tangible solutions.

Investing in technology, training and data to deepen trust

A common reaction I’ve been getting about our moonshot goal is, “this all sounds great, but how?” We don’t yet have all of the answers — just like when Jack Kennedy challenged the nation to put a human on the moon, the technology to do so didn’t exist yet. But we have a good idea of where we can invest to move the needle.

We are committed to investing in better technology, training and data that will help achieve better outcomes and deepen trust between law enforcement and the communities they protect and serve. Using technology to solve deeply entrenched challenges is why I founded the company, and why we’re here today.

Axon has been and will continue to double down on our investments in:

Non-lethal de-escalation tools: We believe that accelerated advancements of the TASER platform will give officers more reliable, non-lethal stopping power that consistently exceeds the stopping power of firearms while maintaining near-zero-percent injury rates.

Virtual Reality and other training innovations: We are investing in advancements in VR training and simulator scenarios to enable officers to train more effectively and more often for the situations that have a higher likelihood of escalation. We see this technology as a way to reimagine how law enforcement and other first responders prepare for the unrelenting demands of their jobs, which will be complemented by other officer performance and wellness offerings.

Cameras and sensors that never miss a moment: In-car and body cameras continue to drive transparency and accountability for everyone. Axon’s products also enable strong video evidence policies, and feature compliance safeguards such as hands-free activation and final failsafes to help ensure that critical incidents are recorded.

Real-time response and communications tools: We believe that the public safety sector would benefit from consumer-grade, cloud-based, multimedia communications tools that are easy and intuitive to use. These tools enable better situational awareness to improve decision-making and the ability to respond quickly and effectively. Also, remote response capabilities such as Axon Air drone as a first responder, paired with counter-drone technology, can provide critical insights and protection, while limiting human exposure in dangerous incidents.

Community impact, engagement and feedback solutions: Deepening trust is foundational to achieving our goal — and a key way that technology can play a role is through engagement tools that allow for rapid, anonymous feedback after interactions between law enforcement and communities, such as my90 by Axon. These tools can help bridge the gap between police leadership, their officers, and the communities they serve to improve transparency, trust and communication.

Comprehensive and actionable response to resistance reporting (includes both use-of-force and de-escalation): We are building productivity software tools that foster comprehensive data collection, including use of force and response to resistance reporting. This will enable Axon to improve our products and allow agencies and others in the law enforcement community to better understand these incidents and inform better solutions to address them.

In addition to building software tools that empower our customers and communities to have access to better data and insights, Axon is also funding third-party research from the Institute for Intergovernmental Research (IIR), a private nonprofit research organization. Our expectation is that better data will help provide insights into common contributing factors to gun-related deaths between police and the public. Data collection will include all shooting deaths in all U.S. jurisdictions involving officers and civilians, where an officer or a civilian died. IIR will release quarterly and annual reports, with the first report being released mid-next year.

We know this will not be easy. But we also know that the private sector, and companies like Axon, have a unique role to play. We are committed to doing our part.