HONOLULU (KHON2) — Body-worn cameras act as extra eyes in police investigations. The Honolulu Police Department is making sure officers are keeping up with policies after the number of camera-related violations nearly doubled.

An HPD audit looked into body-worn camera violations for various categories. The findings were presented to the Honolulu Police Commission this week.

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“There were 46 failure to activate violations found, late activation was 26, failure to activate when using lights and sirens was 17, early activation was four and not turned on or in buffering mode was two,” said Maj. Brandon Nakasato of the Honolulu Police Department.

There were a total of 95 violations as of September 30 compared to 58 for all of 2021. Honolulu police commissioners understand body-worn cameras are fairly new, but question the increase.

“You have for 2022, it’s not even a 12-month period, it’s for nine months out of the 12 months,” said Doug Chin, a Honolulu police commissioner. “So what we’re looking at is potentially twice as many body-worn camera violations for 2022 as compared to 2021.”

The department also added a new category to its audit this year to monitor officers on the road.

“We really focused on reviewing officer-involved motor vehicle collisions in which through body-worn cameras we found officers weren’t using the lights and sirens while responding to calls,” Nakasato said.

HPD said the protocol is highly technical. Just one misstep can cause a violation.

The police union said in a statement:

“Honolulu police officers get nearly a million calls for service a year, almost 2,500 calls for service a day, requiring them to activate their cameras hundreds of thousands of times. These numbers show that even under rapidly escalating, dangerous situations, our officers are correctly using their cameras. This is supported by the fact that the commanding officer of our Professional Standards Office stated that in almost every case they reviewed, our officers were in fact activating their cameras and any deviations from policy were minor. We’re proud that our officers are performing their jobs professionally and passionately regardless of a staffing crisis and steadily rising crime.”

Robert Cavaco, President, SHOPO

Out of the 95 infractions, nine officers had multiple violations. HPD said divisional counseling is the disciplinary action taken, but some commissioners wonder if that’s enough.

“If there are multiple offenses by the same person there has to be corrective action otherwise in essence you don’t have a program,” said Kenneth Silva, a Honolulu police commissioner.

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