Honolulu Police Department reviews body camera pilot program

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The Honolulu Police Department entered a new era in crimefighting when it started testing body cameras.

Now that the pilot program is done — will it be rolled out permanently?

For 30 days, officers in China Town, Ala Moana, and Downtown experienced first hand what it’s like to have a camera strapped to their chest each time they respond to a call for service.

Something Captain Rade Vanic with the Honolulu Police Department says some weren’t so sure about at first. “There was some apprehension by our officers and administrators of how exactly a body camera program would work and how body cameras work.”

But despite early apprehension, HPD says the body cam trial period was a success. “The pilot program actually went really well, any new technology we’re going to be dealing with issues and trying to figure things out but it wasn’t anything that was insurmountable and then we can’t overcome.”

Now that HPD has a taste of life with body cameras, the next step is deciding if the program will be rolled out department wide. “The rollout would be done in a phased approach also factors like cost and training need to be looked at. We need to make sure officers are properly trained before we start using them on the road.”

Right now HPD still has to factor in cost, along with picking a vendor, but if the body cams are adopted, each officer that interacts with the public would be required to wear one.

As for what was caught on video during the 30 days, Vanic says a police vehicle was hit during a routine stop on the freeway, and it was all caught on camera. “And it just so happened that it was at the location of where there was a cover officers vehicle that was parked to provide not only the motorist but themselves with cover. It was pretty cool to see that on video, so that’s just one incident that the body camera video kind of showed exactly what went on.”

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