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Use of force expert: Taser's new body camera tech could benefit officers, community

Body cameras have become a vital part of law enforcement, especially when it comes to officer-involved shootings, but as we've come to learn, sometimes those body cameras aren't turned on in time, or at all to capture what happened.

But Taser International has developed some new technology that could make all the difference. The company unveiled its new line of body cameras on Tuesday.

Some of these new features include automatic turn on, improved cameras and audio capabilities and even longer pre-recorded times.

A use of force expert we spoke to, Lon Bartel, says this new technology will not only benefit the officers, but the community as well.

Taser announced plans to roll out its next generation body camera, the Axon Flex 2.

Bartel says some of its new features, such as mounting options and the pre-event buffer, will benefit officers and the community.

Currently, body cameras capture 30 seconds of video prior to an officer turning it on. With the new technology, that will increase to about two minutes.

"It helps to ensure public trust.. also from an evidentiary perspective, it helps officers as far as anything that they see that becomes evidence in a crime, that now is captured two minutes back. It helps with the prosecution of any type of crime they come across," said Bartel.

There's also an automatic activation function. Right now, officers have to turn on the camera themselves, but with this, something like using a Taser could turn it on.

"There's the potential of having other aspects that trigger it, something as simple as activating the lights on my patrol car could trigger it," said Bartel.

The cameras are said to produce better HD retina low light video with dual audio channels. Bartel says although higher quality cameras are better, it's something that will have to be looked at.

"Because of the changes of our physiology as we start to age, you know the camera doesn't change and it's going to capture a certain amount. It may capture things that are clearly seen on camera that the officer may not have been able to see so clearly."

We're not sure if any of our local police departments will be using this new technology, but many of our departments work with Taser, so there's a big possibility. These new cameras will be available in December of this year.