Taser shares gain further on camera orders

Taser International discloses several camera orders, shares up for 3 consecutive days

Associated Press

Taser International Inc.'s shares increased for the third day in a row as investors saw recent orders for its video equipment as a potential boost to its business.

THE SPARK: Taser said Wednesday that the Surprise, Ariz., Police Department will issue its Axon Flex on-officer cameras for all patrol officers. The cameras capture video and audio during a traffic stop or at a crime scene and are reported to lead to fewer police encounter complaints. The company also said that the Fort Worth, Texas, police department recently deployed 145 cameras and the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport's department of public safety deployed 100 cameras.

THE BIG PICTURE: Police around the U.S. have faced varying public complaints over interactions, some involving disputed necessity of the use of stun guns.

Mike Frazier, the police chief for the Surprise Police Department, said Wednesday that department research found that other communities reported declines in police encounter complaints after body cameras were put into use.

"The video and audio takes the 'he said, she said' element away by providing an exact picture of what really happens during these encounters," Frazier said in a statement.

The orders also build on the company's strong second earnings report that came in at the end of July.

Taser said that strong sales of the newest version of its stun gun helped boost its second-quarter profits by 29 percent. Revenue for the period rose 14 percent to $32.2 million, from $28.2 million a year earlier. Most of Taser's revenue comes from stun guns. It also got $1.9 million in revenue from its video unit.

Losses in that segment rose by $200,000, to $2.7 million, in the most recent quarter because of spending aimed at expanding that business.

SHARE ACTION: Taser shares jumped 7 percent Wednesday and 5 percent Thursday on news of the orders. Its stock price increased 26 cents, a nearly 3 percent gain, to $10.06 by midafternoon Friday.

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