Pasadena Angels Invest Again, This Time in Camera to Combat Drug and Alcohol-Impaired Driving

Published : Friday, August 11, 2017 | 5:40 AM

The Pasadena Angels, among the longest-running Southern California “angel” groups providing financial backing to start-up businesses, has concluded a round of investments in Ocular Data Systems Inc., the Pasadena-based creator of the DAX Evidence Recorder, a ground-breaking handheld camera that can aid law enforcement officers in manually testing and recording eye movements and responses in drivers.

These recordings can be used by prosecutors as court admissible audio-video evidence of impaired driving to help settle cases before they go to court. This saves law enforcement countless hours and increases field duty time for officers.

The amount of the investment was not disclosed, but Ocular Systems Inc. said it will be used to further develop DAX in order to help the epidemic of drug and alcohol impaired driving crashes and fatalities.

“The rise in prescription drug use and legalization of marijuana has certainly caught the attention of the VC (venture capital) community, especially with the challenges it presents for lawmakers and law enforcement to keep our roads safe,” Chris Wadden, Pasadena Angels Chairman, said. “With the industry experience behind DAX, in addition to the company’s new partners helping to bring DAX to market, we feel confident that this is a product uniquely positioned to change how law enforcement presents evidence from individuals tested for drug and alcohol impairment in the field.”

Ocular Systems says over 30 police agencies in 20 states and in Canada have deployed DAX to increase the prosecution and conviction rates for alcohol and drug impaired driving.

Among the current users are the Los Angeles Police Department, Denver PD, the Colorado State Patrol, Tennessee Highway Patrol, and NYPD, in addition to the Houston PD DWI Task Force, one of the company’s biggest customers.

Last month, researchers at Columbia University announced findings that the deadly U.S. opioid epidemic has resulted in a sevenfold increase in the number of drivers killed in car crashes while under the influence of prescription painkillers.

Just recently, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) released a Drug-Impaired Driving Report saying that driving while on drugs was associated with more deaths in 2015 than driving with alcohol.

Decatur Electronics of Phoenix, Arizona distributes DAX cameras throughout the Western, mid-Atlantic, and South Central United States. Another Southern California firm, Stratasys Direct Manufacturing of Valencia, handles the injection molding, parts procurement and final assembly of the DAX.

“Law enforcement and the criminal justice system are grappling with the increasing American epidemic of narcotic-impaired and marijuana-impaired driving, which can’t be detected with a simple breath test or even most blood tests,” said Marcus Filipovich, Ocular Data Systems CEO. “Today’s announcement reinforces our commitment to develop and bring to market the tools that police officers and prosecutors need to keep impaired drivers off the road and save lives.”

Members of Pasadena Angels, founded in 2000, have invested over $75 million in over 185 companies. In 2015, the group invested a total of $5 million in 27 companies. The nonprofit offers early stage start-ups capital investments, as well as mentoring from the expertise of more than 100 investor members with over 4,000 years of combined business expertise.

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