Cops are Using AI Cameras to Generate Police Reports

A police officer in full tactical gear, including a helmet with a visor and bulletproof vest, stands in front of a building entrance.
An officer with an Axon camera. | Elvert Barnes via CC BY-SA 2.0

A police tech company that makes body cams and tasers has released a new futuristic product that has some people unnerved: an AI camera that generates police reports from audio.

Axon has contracts with police forces across the United States worth $22 billion and its new product called Draft One will transcribe the audio recorded on a cop’s body cam and then process the information into a police report with early testing showing it can free up an officer’s time by 25 percent.


The new AI camera was first reported by Forbes which notes that police reports are often used as evidence in criminal trials and critics are concerned that the AI is known to occasionally hallucinate, display racial bias, or just make things up.

“It’s kind of a nightmare,” Dave Maass, surveillance technologies investigations director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, tells Forbes. “Police, who aren’t specialists in AI, and aren’t going to be specialists in recognizing the problems with AI, are going to use these systems to generate language that could affect millions of people in their involvement with the criminal justice system. What could go wrong?”

The fear that racial prejudice could be exacerbated by AI cameras is pertinent given that the death of George Floyd was less than four years ago. Axon CEO Rick Smith tells Forbes that it isn’t recommending police use the AI to write up reports for serious incidents such as an officer discharging their firearm. However, Axon doesn’t have control over how an individual police department deploys the technology.

To counter racial bias, Axon senior principal AI product manager Noah Spitzer-Williams tells Forbes that the company has configured Draft One so that it sticks to basic information around the incident.

“The simplest way to think about it is that we have turned off the creativity,” he says of the device which uses OpenAI’s GPT-4 Turbo model. “That dramatically reduces the number of hallucinations and mistakes… Everything that it’s produced is just based on that transcript and that transcript alone.”

The AI camera has already been trialed by the Fort Collins Colorado Police Department which claims to have reduced its time spent writing reports by 82 percent.

“If an officer spends half their day reporting, and we can cut that in half, we have an opportunity to potentially free up 25% of an officer’s time to be back out policing,” adds Smith.