AZ body-camera maker offers 1-year trial to police agencies

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A body-camera maker is offering some U.S. police departments a chance to try out their goods for a year. But if they decide to keep the cameras, or happen to damage them, they'll have to pay full price.

The trial run is being offered by Taser International Inc., which makes the Axon brand of body cameras. Departments that sign up will also get online data storage, camera equipment and other services.

"There is too much at stake for these trends to continue, or for outdated procurement processes to get in the way of rigorous field testing," according to the company's website explaining the offer. "That’s why we’re offering agencies nationwide a free one-year trial of our cameras, software and training." 

[RELATED: Taser to offer new sensor that automatically turns on body camera]

Axon founder and CEO Rick Smith said he expects the body cameras will make it easier for officers to do their jobs, and will "drive important social change."

"We are going 'all-in' to empower police officers to more safely and effectively do their jobs and drive important social change by making body cameras available to every officer in America," he said in a news release. "We believe these cameras are more than just tools to protect communities and the officers who serve them. They also hold the potential to change police work as we know it, by seamlessly collecting an impartial record and reducing the need for endless paperwork. That's why we're giving this opportunity to every single police officer in America."

[RELATED: ASU study: Body cameras improve relationship between Tempe police officers, public]

It's a try-before-you-buy strategy.

The Scottsdale-based company says the camera retails for $399. The docking stations are $200 and monthly data storage is about $80 a month per camera.

According to a Bureau of Justice Statistics report released last April and revised in October, there were an estimated 750,340 full-time sworn officers in the U.S. in 2012, and 325,714 nonsworn officers. Those numbers are from the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, one of three national data resources that collect such information.Body cameras are a growing business for Taser, which also makes stun guns.

This week, it changed its corporate name to Axon Enterprise Inc. and switched its stock symbol to "AAXN" from "TASR."

3TV/CBS 5 and CNNMoney contributed to this report.

© 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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