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Axon - Texas City Fire Department Case Study

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HOW TEXAS CITY FIRE DEPARTMENT IMPROVED TRAINING & CUT COMPLAINTS WITH AXON BODY CAMERAS / THE CASE FOR CAMERAS IN FIRE & EMS For Texas City Fire Chief David Zacherl, issuing body cameras wasn't top of mind for his Fire and EMS personnel before 2018. Then he had an eye-opening conversation with a local police official who had been issued a body camera. Chief Zacherl said that the police official went from thinking "I'll never survive these cameras" to considering the cameras one of the best developments of his career. He told Zacherl that they helped reduce complaints, enhanced the quality of their evidence, and were unmatched training tools — able to put you into the mindset of an official on scene at an event. After that conversation, Chief Zacherl was convinced: Fire and EMS could significantly benefit from adopting body cameras. / A NEW FRONTIER: ISSUING THE CAMERAS He began exploring body camera options and quickly settled on Axon as a possible provider. This was not a project, Chief Zacherl said, where he wanted "to reinvent the wheel." His local police department was using Axon, and officials there were happy with their cameras, and the city's IT staff was already familiar with the technology, which would simplify the implementation. At the time, Texas City Fire Department was one of a select few Fire and EMS agencies in the U.S. that had adopted body cameras — so they turned to city officials and other, similar Fire and EMS agencies for advice when crafting policy. Their top focus was addressing any HIPAA-related concerns. Chief Zacherl said that Axon's robust cloud- based Axon Evidence system, with its suite of redaction tools, helped address stakeholder questions about respecting individuals' privacy. Now, Texas City Fire Department has at least 15 cameras in service every day. The cameras are assigned to a fire truck or medic position and rotate by shift, much like the Department's radio equipment. The Department maintains spare cameras at each station, so personnel can swap out in the middle of a shift if it's ever necessary. / UNPRECEDENTED INSIGHTS & ACCESS After initially trialing Axon Body 2 cameras, the Department now uses Axon Body 3 cameras with Axon Respond for Devices — letting them livestream and get real-time alerts from the field. Assistant Chief Jesse Rubio saw the value of livestreaming immediately when he monitored his first call, where EMS officials effectively responded to a belligerent patient.

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