BATON ROUGE (WGNO) – All Louisiana State Police officers will soon be equipped with body cameras in a move that State Police Superintendent Colonel Mike Edmonson said will help improve transparency within the department.
Fifteen hundred Axon Body 2 cameras by the TASER corporation will be issued to state troopers over the next five years. The statewide deployment will be the first of its kind among state public safety agencies in the country, according to the LSP.
“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,” Colonel Edmonson said. “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.”
The LSP will be able to outfit over 700 troopers statewide, with additional cameras reserved for replacement and for use by Troopers on special assignments. Troopers will also continue to utilize their in-car cameras in conjunction with the body cameras, which are able to integrate with the TASER X2 currently carried by Troopers.
“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,” TASER CEO and co-founder Rick Smith said. “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.”
Twenty-two troopers across the state successfully tested the new body cameras from February through September of this year in situations ranging from foot patrol on Bourbon St. to vehicle patrols in rural communities in North Louisiana.