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article / April 11, 2023

Axon Body 4’s bi-directional communication bolsters situational awareness

Two-way communication between first responders and command is the next step in operational efficiency

Communication is among the most important tools in any first responder’s kit, and Axon is helping it evolve. The release of Axon Body 4 marks a significant upgrade to foundational functionality, as well as powerful new bi-directional communications and Watch Me features enabled by Axon Respond.

Introducing Axon Body 4

The Axon Body 4 body-worn camera (BWC) is Axon’s latest development ensuring that first responders and private security can communicate with support teams safely, reliably and effectively. The new BWC features bi-directional communication that allows Axon Body 4 (AB4) users to communicate with support teams to see what’s happening in a developing situation.

The Axon Body 4 introduces “Watch Me”, which puts streaming control directly into the hands of users. When the user hits the Watch Me button, they send a request to have a support team watch their back, allowing them to receive advice and assistance remotely.

Axon Body 4 use cases

There are numerous scenarios where AB4 and Respond+ benefit the wearer. The following use cases demonstrate some of the ways that AB4 can help users navigate day-to-day challenges.

Law Enforcement – De-escalating a mental health crisis

With Body 4 and Axon Respond+, officers can connect with in-house specialists via for 1:1 communication.

Suppose a dispatcher receives a call for service (CFS) related to a person in crisis (PIC). The call is assigned to an officer and the department’s Mental Health Specialist (MHS) is asked to join the livestream. As the officer approaches the scene, they begin to record on their AB4 camera. The MHS then opens a livestream on the Respond mobile app, where they can observe the behaviors of the PIC and assess their mental condition.

The officer uses his training to keep the situation from escalating. After some observations, the MHS believes that the person experiencing a mental health crisis displays symptoms of acute psychosis. The MHS speaks to the officer through bi-directional comms, and recommends that the officer bring the PIC to a mental health clinic for further psychiatric evaluation. The MHS could even speak directly to the PIC via the AB4, explaining their credentials and desire to help, and the situation is resolved peacefully.

Law Enforcement – Sending backup to an officer

The Axon Body 4 is built from the ground up to support users in the field. If an officer needs support but is unsure of their location, they can use Respond+ and Watch Me to connect with a support team member who can locate them and send backup.

An officer is dispatched to search for a suspect at a large corporate complex where a theft had been reported. The officer arrives at the location and searches the perimeter before entering the building. Once inside, he notices someone that matches the description of the suspect. When the officer approaches, the suspect begins to flee.

The officer pursues, chasing the suspect on foot out into the corporate complex. The complex features numerous attached units, and the officer is unsure of his precise location once he’s outside.

He presses the Watch Me button on his AB4, which sends an alert to his dispatcher on the Respond desktop app. The dispatcher opens the alert and watches the livestream footage broadcasted from the AB4.

a police officer pursues a suspect while using bi-directional communications on the Axon Body 4 camera

Using the AB4’s bi-directional communications features, the officer informs the dispatcher of the situation, requesting backup to intercept the suspect as he continues the chase. The dispatcher views the officer’s location, and then speaks to the officer through the AB4 to confirm that help is on the way.

The hands-free communication allows the officer to keep his eyes up and focused on the suspect. Backup arrives to the right location quickly, and the responding officers apprehend the suspect.

Law Enforcement – Extra Eyes on the Scene

The Watch Me feature is not just for chases or requesting physical back-up during an emergency. The new feature on the AB4 is also ideal when officers simply do not want to go alone into a situation.

For instance, imagine a routine traffic stop. Maybe it’s late at night, or maybe it is a remote location. For whatever reason, the officer wants someone to watch her back. Throughout the traffic stop, another member of the agency is able to watch the entire encounter. Dispatch can even check the location of nearby officers in case physical back-up ends up being required.

Fortunately, this traffic stop stays routine. Once the community member drives away, the officer ends the recording and returns to patrolling the streets.

EMT – Reporting on an incoming patient

Transporting a patient to a hospital is a high-risk period for medical care. EMTs don’t have as many resources to aid patients as hospitals do, and it can be difficult to gauge the best treatment options without additional information on a patient’s condition. However, Axon Body 4’s 1:1 communication allows EMTs to connect with Medical Directors to find the best care solution while en route to a hospital.

For instance, an EMT transporting a 65-year-old who fell from a 15-foot ladder could press the “Watch Me” button on their AB4 and connect with a Medical Director at their EMS agency, who would then a livestream of the EMT’s footage via the Axon Respond app. The victim is conscious but bleeding severely.

EMT's treat a patient in an ambulance while using live streaming on their Axon body camerasThe EMT relays the information to the Medical Director along with the patient’s vitals, the time the injury took place and where the patient is being transported from. The EMT then asks for direction on how best to stymy the patient’s bleeding.

The Medical Director, who has both heard the description and seen the situation via livestreaming of the AB4, can then leverage bi-directional communication to provide the EMT with step-by-step direction on how to treat the injury, improving the patient’s outcome while still en route to the hospital.

Enterprise Security – Suspicious person encounter

In enterprise settings, security guards may find themselves alone and without support. The AB4 camera’s Watch Me and bi-directional communication features allow private security easier access to helpful resources, making interactions more efficient and helping to ensure security guards stay safe on the job.

A lone security guard is on patrol during a shift at a mall. The guard spots a suspicious person behaving erratically outside a store and approaches, pressing the Watch Me button on their AB4 as they get close. The command center receives a notification and begins watching the AB4’s livestream via the Respond desktop app.

The guard is trying to understand why the person is on-premises and asks for their ID. Using 1:1 Communication, the guard discusses the person’s identity with the command center and determines that they’re a potential threat.

The situation becomes more confrontational, and the person begins to threaten the unarmed security guard. The command center witnesses this situation, recognizes the threat and calls for backup from the local police department. The command center alerts the security guard and the person that back-up is on the way and when the police arrive, the situation is resolved without violence.

Enterprise Security – Responding to a customer complaint

It’s not uncommon for private security to encounter unruly customers during a sporting event, concert or any other large gathering. Security guards must navigate these situations carefully, so as not to ruin the experience of other fans in the crowd or expose the company to potential lawsuits. Fiery customer interactions can be solved more effectively when individual security guards are connected to security leaders via the AB4 and Axon Respond+.

For example, security receives complaints about an intoxicated fan in the stands of a sporting event. A security guard is sent to investigate and de-escalate the situation, pressing the “Watch Me” button as they approach the intoxicated customer’s section. A security leader receives a notification about the livestream and tunes in. The intoxicated customer is using slurs and picking fights.

Security personnel keep track of events around town, including a sporting event

The situation is not de-escalating, so the security leader sends more personnel to assist the lone security guard. Upon arrival, the group is able to de-escalate the problem and the individual calms down. A guard remains there to monitor the situation. The intoxicated customer creates issues again, and the security leader gives the guard the green light to eject them from the event. The situation is resolved, and other fans no longer have to worry about their experience being spoiled.

These are just some ways that first responders and security personnel can use Axon Body 4 and Respond+ to gain greater effectiveness in the field. Together, they give field responders and command staff an unprecedented level of communication, improving outcomes for all parties involved.

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