Honolulu equips first group of officers with body cameras

HONOLULU (AP) — The Honolulu Police Department has issued its first set of body-worn cameras to 35 officers.

Officers who work day shifts in downtown Honolulu were outfitted with the body cameras Monday, Hawaii News Now reported .

The department plans to roll out dozens more every month to eventually give all 1,200 officers body cameras. It expects hundreds of officers to have cameras by the end of the year.

The first set was issued to officers working near police headquarters, so if they experience problems, the information technology unit can help, the department said.

“We’re just still trying to get used to it, downloading the programs and that, but other than that, it’s a work in progress,” Officer Joelyn DeCaires said. “We’ll figure it out.”

Officers are required to keep the cameras turned on during their shift.

“Policy requires them to use it during any interaction with the public, either self-initiated or when they are sent to a case,” police Capt. Radde Vanic said.

Recording the interactions could benefit both the officer and the public, DeCaires said. She said she has been the target of past complaints, and the body camera footage could have been easily proven her side.

The department is paying $3.5 million for all the cameras, and it expects the program to cost $1.5 million each year to maintain the equipment and store the videos.

The Honolulu department is the third in Hawaii to use body cameras. Kauai police started in 2014, and Maui police started in 2017.