HPD rolling out body cameras next month

News

The Honolulu Police Department will be rolling out its new body cameras this year. 

The body cameras will be deployed to HPD stations in phases, going district by district, starting next month. Lieutenants and officers will be wearing them while on duty. 

It will cost $1.5 million a year to support the body camera program.

HPD chose body camera maker AXON, which already supplies police departments around the country.

The device will go on an officer’s uniform using magnets. The devices will record the same things that an officer will be seeing, so there won’t be any night assistance feature. Once the officer returns to the station, they will charge and upload footage from their body cameras.

The AXON cameras will be recording in 1080p resolution with about 30 hours of recording time.

HPD says the cameras will be rolled out in phases starting with District 1, Downtown, in mid-August, followed by Districts 6 and 7. It will end with the traffic division and District 4, the east side of the island in 2021.

“What we want to do and what we wanted to make sure was that we start slow and steady,” said major Rade Vanic of the HPD Information Technology Division. “We wanted to make sure this program is successful so we don’t want to rush it so that’s its something we cannot handle.”

Honolulu police chief Susan Ballard says the previous tests to the body cams were necessary in order to get the body cameras rolled out this year. They are also a part of her resolution to improve transparency in the Honolulu Police Department.

“We wanted to make sure that we had everything in place. We wanted to make sure it was a success from the beginning,” said Chief Susan Ballard, Honolulu Police Department. “We tried to look at as many problems as we could, find solutions for them so that we could roll this out so it could be a success for the community and the police department.” 

HPD says the officers have to wear the cameras when responding to a call. They say consent isn’t required to record and there will be an audit system in place. 

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