Hardly a week goes by that the national media doesn’t focus on a police shooting of a criminal suspect.
The public is absolutely right to want assurance that officers are acting responsibly during service calls and arrests.
Unwarranted police violence is something no American should tolerate.
But neither should law enforcement officers get railroaded for behaving appropriately during what are often emotionally charged and dangerous circumstances.
(An unarmed suspect is not necessarily nonthreatening.)
Yet remote videos can be inconclusive. Eyewitness accounts differ. It’s often hard to know whether force was necessary – or overused.
And when deaths or serious injuries occur, there can be strong incentives to spin the story.
But truth and justice have a new ally on their side: Axon Enterprise (Nasdaq: AAXN).
The company’s mission is to protect lives with less-lethal weapons, body and vehicle cameras, and automated reporting and evidence management.
The company is the leading maker of stun guns used by law enforcement officers, military personnel, corrections officers, security personnel and private citizens.
The primary purchasers, of course, are police departments. And while Tasers are currently the company’s No. 1 source of revenue, it offers much more.
Axon makes and sells body-worn cameras that are small yet highly visible and can be securely attached to police uniforms. When recording, the cameras capture a wide-angle, full-color view of what an officer is facing.
(The company also has a new division: Axon Fleet. These are in-car cameras that have gained traction much faster than expected.)
The videos automatically upload to Evidence.com, the firm’s secure cloud-based storage and management warehouse system, to prevent tampering and allow easy review.
Axon also has a new artificial intelligence division that enables new levels of automation, analysis and insight.
Axon is the top global player in Tasers, body-worn video cameras and cloud-based digital evidence management. More than 17,000 law enforcement officers in over 100 countries use its products.
This puts Axon right in the middle of the new push for greater oversight of police officers, as it provides evidence that helps victims in cases of officer misconduct and protects lawmen from false accusations.
The numbers here are already superb.
In the most recent quarter, earnings jumped 273% on a 25% increase in sales. Plus the company has negligible debt and $312 million in cash.
No wonder the stock is in a strong uptrend, up 182% over the last 52 weeks.
There is plenty of upside ahead.
More police departments are requiring officers to wear body cameras. That will protect them when they are doing their jobs properly and protect innocent defendants when they are not.
(Just last week, the Boston Police Department contracted with the company for a body-worn camera program backed by digital evidence management.)
It also means cops will be less likely to draw a pistol and more likely to draw a Taser when a rowdy suspect must be subdued.
There is good potential for growth overseas, especially in markets like the U.K. where many cops walk their beats without a gun.
Plus, Axon is set to release a slew of upgrades for its existing products to expand its market.
In short, this is a fast-growing company in a recession-resistant business that – thanks to widespread public demand for greater transparency – will see earnings push sharply higher over the next several quarters.
With more communities adopting better, safer and more accountable policing tools, future growth here is virtually assured.
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