Updated: Tue, Oct. 27, 2020
We posted a statement last week that said we need racial reconciliation and hope following the recent deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and the countless others who have tragically lost their lives. The events of these past weeks have made us challenge the way we think, speak and act on race-related matters. Talk is not enough. We must engage in difficult conversations and become actively anti-racist. Today, we want to share the first steps Axon is committing to in order to eliminate systemic inequity, racism, and injustice.
Axon’s goal is to make the bullet obsolete, reduce social conflict and ensure criminal justice systems are fair and effective. After this week we’ve learned that we can and must do even more. That’s why we are adding one more goal to center racial equity, diversity, and inclusion.
Technology alone can’t solve the problem of systemic racism - but we believe it has a huge role to play and Axon is uniquely positioned to solve these problems.
- Body cameras capture truth and provide transparency where there was none before. Signal technology, along with the power of AI, can help ensure cameras are always on when they’re supposed to be.
- Live-streaming video combined with other real-time situational awareness data and a re-imagined 911 experience can dramatically increase the safety of officers and the communities they serve by putting eyes directly on life-threatening and use of force situations in real-time.
- VR Empathy Training can help officers put themselves in others’ shoes and be better equipped to listen and de-escalate before they act.
- Citizen portals to securely share footage captured by citizens can create a direct and constructive connection between communities and the agencies sworn to protect them.
- Today, officers spend up to 40% of their day on paperwork— by streamlining officer workflows with powerful AI-driven tools like transcription and redaction, we are reinventing policing by ensuring more of their time can be spent building constructive relationships in the community.
The first step we took was to self-assess and reflect on how we as a company can do better. We are committing to take action for increased diversity and inclusion at our company with the following steps:
- We are going to build a global company that represents the communities we live in and serve, where all employees feel comfortable to bring their authentic selves to work, regardless of race, gender, or orientation.
Hiring - We will be reviewing our hiring practices and standing up a dedicated team focused on improving our Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) hiring strategy and increasing diversity within the recruiting funnel.
Promotion - We will track and evaluate D&I data as part of all performance and compensation reviews going forward to ensure that we are driving a fair and inclusive environment throughout all levels of Axon.
Build a more open and inclusive culture - We will expand the scope of our various D&I initiatives to promote inclusion in the workplace and community and continue to facilitate dialogue by hosting events focused on leadership development, recruiting and community engagement. We’ve already begun to take the following steps:
- Expand the scope of our current and future affinity group efforts to ensure that their voices are much more pervasive and involved in key conversations.
- Launch company wide unconscious bias and cross-cultural trainings and continue to drive conversation and education around diverse perspectives.
- We will seek to do business with suppliers that embody the same commitment to diversity and inclusion - Starting immediately we will change our RFP and supplier/vendor selection process to identify minority-owned businesses and add a weighting factor to our awards so all selections take this into account and actively encourage diversity as we seek to support minority-owned businesses.
Our next step is focused on how we can better engage with our communities:
We serve public safety. And public safety serves the community. It’s on us to listen to community members as we forge ahead on developing technology. We need to listen to communities now more than ever which is why we’re committing to take the following actions:
- Seek out community input and feedback with all of our products:
- Actively conduct Voice of Customer sessions with community members to ensure that our existing products and future product development are reflecting the needs of the public.
- Support investigations led by community organizations looking into potential misuse of our products.
- Engage with law enforcement leaders to reform body-worn camera policies.
- Drive active participation among our employees in the communities that we serve: Starting now, we are going to work with employees on how best they can engage with the community in an effort to give back and help build their own awareness of various diverse backgrounds and circumstances.
Lastly, we are committing to investing more in our products that can help provide greater transparency for the public and help drive reform within law enforcement:
- Build more community-facing aspects to our products, to provide even greater transparency and empowerment: We will explicitly prioritize more capabilities that are directly community-facing and community-empowering. Examples may include more automated public transparency portals for data and insights, ways to ensure officers’ cameras are on when they’re supposed to be, and more.
- Invest in the data, analytics, and tools that agencies can use to set policy and drive reform-minded compliance mechanisms: We will continue to balance the opportunity and necessity of using data to find actionable insights, with our ethics-first framework on key issues like retention policies. Our independent AI Ethics Board will continue to play a large role in these discussions.
We are committed to continuing the conversation to drive positive change. We are proudly leaning into this time of transformational change and driving forward in the next wave of policing reform. Everyone deserves to get home safe.
Protect Life, Protect Truth,
CEO and founder, Axon