|Traded as||NASDAQ: TASR|
|Patrick W. Smith, co-founder, CEO. Thomas P. Smith, co-founder. Doug Klint, president and General Counsel.|
|Products||Electrical weapons, body worn cameras, digital evidence management solutions|
|Revenue||$164.5 million USD (2014)|
Number of employees
TASER International, Inc. is an American developer, manufacturer, and distributor of conducted electrical weapons, body worn cameras, and digital evidence management solutions based in Scottsdale, Arizona. The majority of TASER products are aimed at the law enforcement and military field, however the company also manufactures a consumer line-up. TASER is the most common brand of electrical weapons.
Referring to an electrical weapon as a "taser" is common, but a misnomer.
The company was founded in 1991 (under the name AIR TASER, Inc.) by brothers Rick and Tom Smith. The Smiths were distraught when two of Rick's former high school teammates were murdered in a road rage incident in Scottsdale. Stemming from the incident, they began working with Jack Cover to develop a TASER device. (Cover had developed an early version of an electrical weapon and in 1970 formed Taser Systems Inc. Cover's version, however, used gunpowder to launch its darts, classifying it as a firearm. This limited sales and the business collapsed.)
In November 1993, a non-firearm version of the device called the AIR TASER was developed, allowing it to bypass federal and state laws that only apply to firearms, and a tracking system (the anti-felon identification or AFID system) was created. This enables the weapon to disperse confetti with serial numbers when it is fired and links the specific weapon to the scene where it was used.
In 1998, the company adopted its current name to signal the company's international expansion. In the same year, the company began marketing the weapon to law enforcement agencies and police departments, in addition to private buyers who had bought TASER weapons for personal self-protection in prior years.
In 2008, TASER began developing and manufacturing wearable video technology designed to record audio and video evidence from an officer’s perspective. Also in that time, TASER launched Evidence.com, a cloud-based, digital evidence management solution that allows police agencies to store, manage, and share audio/video data.
In April 2013, the Rialto Police Department released the results of a 12-month study on the impact of on-officer video using Axon Flex cameras. The study found an 88% drop in complaints filed against officers and nearly a 60% reduction in officer use-of-force incidents.
TASER opened an office in Seattle in 2013, and an international office in Amsterdam, Netherlands in May 2014.
In June 2015, Rick Smith announced that the Axon brand would be expanding to encompass the company's new product developments, including body-worn cameras, digital evidence management, and "future products and services". Since that time, TASER has announced several new products, including interview room cameras, an in-car video system, and a new body-worn camera.
Law Enforcement Models
There are two primary law enforcement models currently available:
- TASER X26P: An all-digital, single-shot electrical weapon for law enforcement personnel.
- TASER X2: An all-digital, two-shot capacity electrical weapon for law enforcement personnel.
In addition to the law enforcement models, the company also offers devices to civilians and private security, including the TASER Pulse, C2, X26C, X2, and Strikelight.
- Axon Body 2: A high-definition wireless body camera that attaches to the shirt pocket, zipper, lapel, or utility belt of an officer’s uniform.
- Axon Flex: A point-of-view body camera attached to eyewear, headband, helmet, ball cap, collar, epaulet, or other preferred location on a uniform.
Previous models include the Axon Body, a predecessor to the current Axon Body 2.
Evidence.com is a cloud-based digital evidence management system used to store and manage accumulated audio/video/photo data from body cameras, dash cameras, cell phones, or any other recording device. It is subscription based.
Evidence.com for Prosecutors
In addition to Evidence.com, TASER also offers Evidence.com for Prosecutors, a version of Evidence.com designed to help prosecutors manage the influx of digital evidence from police departments.
In October 2015, TASER announced an in-car video system called Axon Fleet, designed to integrate with the company's existing products, including Axon Signal and Evidence.com. The system includes front- and rear-facing cameras, wi-fi upload, and auto-activation based on Axon Signal triggers.
TASER announced a new interview room recording system in October 2015. The system captures audio and video in interview rooms and uploads the recordings into Evidence.com.
- Axon View: A mobile application that pairs with Axon cameras allowing law enforcement officers to review videos on the camera and tag them with metadata in the field.
- Axon Capture: A mobile application that captures photo, audio and video evidence and uploads them to Evidence.com.
Axon Forensic Suite
Through partnership with Amped Software, TASER offers a set of products for processing and analyzing photo and video evidence:
- Axon Convert: An image conversion tool that converts videos from proprietary formats (such as from CCTV cameras) into playable formats.
- Axon Five: A software application that can enhance and analyze images and videos for police investigations.
- Axon Detect: A photo analysis tool that can detect tampering and photo manipulation.
According to TASER International, the company has lost two product liability lawsuits:
This lawsuit represents the fifty-ninth (59th) wrongful death or injury lawsuit that has been dismissed or judgment entered in favor of TASER International. This number includes a small number of police officer training injury lawsuits that were settled and dismissed in cases where the settlement economics to TASER International were significantly less than the cost of litigation. One of these cases is that on Feb. 15, 2006, one officer Officer accidentally discharged TASER device on his daughter. TASER International has lost two product liability lawsuits.
However, on June 6, 2008, the company lost its first product-liability suit. The damages were reduced in the Court of Appeals in 2011. TASER lost its second product liability suit In late January 2008, the public safety committee of the current Canadian House of Commons launched an investigation into their use, after the death of Robert Dziekanski. The coroner concluded that the death of Robert Dziekanski was a homicide, confirming that the Taser was the cause of death, and has the capacity to kill. The British Columbia government's Braidwood Inquiry is also currently underway.
In 2015, it was discovered that several Taser International employees, without mentioning their employment status, left one-star negative reviews of Nick Berardini's film, Killing Them Safely, on the iTunes and Amazon websites. The film documents safety issues, injuries, and deaths caused by Tasers.
On July 20, 2004, Taser determined to restate its consolidated financial statements for the quarter ended March 31, 2004, due to an error in its calculation of the deferred tax benefit. On April 19, 2005, Taser restated its financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2004, because there is an error resulted from calculation of the future tax benefit to be received from employees' sale of stock. On Nov 15, 2005, Taser restated its first and second quarter of 2005 financial results, due to an error resulted from the incorrect accrual of legal and other professional fees. On May 12, 2006, Taser determined to restate results for the first quarter and "relevant prior periods", to correct an error in the way it calculated expenses.
- Woo, Elaine (February 13, 2009). "Jack Cover dies at 88; scientist invented the Taser stun gun". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 27, 2015.
Jack Cover, an aerospace scientist who invented the Taser stun gun. a device used by thousands of law enforcement agencies to subdue unruly offenders with electrical shocks -- has died. He was 88.
- "Inventor of Taser gun dies of pneumonia". Associated Press. 2009. Retrieved January 27, 2015.
John "Jack" H. Cover, the inventor of the Taser stun gun used by thousands of police agencies around the world, has died. He was 88.
- Stross, Randall. "Wearing a Badge, and a Video Camera". New York Times. Retrieved 2015-04-21.
- "Taser opening Seattle software development office - Phoenix Business Journal". Phoenix Business Journal. Retrieved 2016-02-14.
- "Press Releases - TASER International Inc.". investor.taser.com. Retrieved 2016-02-14.
- "The New Axon Brand with Rick Smith". www.axon.io. Retrieved 2016-02-14.
- "Axon Signal". www.axon.io. Retrieved 2016-02-14.
- "Smart Weapons Now Part of the Axon Platform". www.taser.com. Retrieved 2016-02-14.
- "TASER's Axon Fleet brings affordable in-car video solution to police". PoliceOne. Retrieved 2016-02-14.
- "ELECTRONIC CONTROL DEVICE LEGAL OUTLINE" (PDF).
- TASER Granted Summary Judgment Dismissing Product Liability Lawsuit, TASER International, Inc. press release, October 9, 2007.
- "Taser Loses 1st Product-Liability Suit; Jury Awards $6 Million". Retrieved 11 May 2015.
- Appeals Court Significantly Reduces Award in Heston Lawsuit Against TASER
- http://investor.taser.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=129937&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1677761&highlight= Court Grants TASER's Motion to Reduce Turner Jury Verdict From $10M to $4.3M
- "Commons committee probes Taser use by police". CTVNews. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
- "Robert Dziekanski Taser Death A Homicide: Coroner (VIDEO)". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
- "Amnesty urges moratorium on Taser use after CBC/Radio-Canada probe". 5 December 2008. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
- Fox-Brewster, Thomas (December 10, 2015), Taser Employees Hit iTunes To 'Troll' Documentary That Probes Suspect Killings, Forbes, retrieved December 11, 2015
- Mills, Chris (December 10, 2015), Taser Employees Appear to Troll Anti-Taser Documentary With Fake Reviews, Gizmodo, retrieved December 11, 2015
- Swaine, Jon (December 11, 2015), Taser staff appear to post negative reviews for film critical of stun guns, The Guardian, retrieved December 11, 2015
- "TASER Reports Record Quarter With 27% Sequential Growth in New Business".
- "TASR Restate First and Second Quarter of 2005".
- "Taser delays quarterly filings, discloses expense errors".
- Anglen, Robert. "Taser tied to 'independent' study that backs stun gun." The Arizona Republic. May 21, 2005.
- Johnson, Kevin. "Taser contributes to police families." USA Today. April 24, 2005.
- Stross, Randall. "Wearing a Badge, and a Video Camera." New York Times. April 6, 2013.
- "Taser research marred by conflicts." Vermont Huardian. May 23, 2005.
- Frosch, Dan. "Ex-Albuquerque Police Chief Accused of Violating Ethics Laws in Auditor’s Report" "The Wall Street Journal". April 30,2015.
- Taser International official website
- Axon official website
- Palm Beach Post special two-part report on Taser use