Kauai PD first in state to use body cams on patrol - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Kauai PD first in state to use body cams on patrol

LIHUE, KAUAI (HawaiiNewsNow) -

At first, the five Kauai police officers were uneasy about wearing cameras that record video and audio while they work.

"The biggest concern for anybody, both the public and the officers, is a sense of somebody's watching you," says Officer Stacy Perreira.

But after the month-long pilot program, many had grown fond of the devices, including Officer Tyrus Contrades, "I like it. I think it will be a good thing for our officers and the community."

We rode with Contrades who tested the cameras for KPD. He thinks they will help prevent issues between police and the public because everyone behaves differently when they are being recorded.Law enforcement expert Tommy Aiu says the benefits of the cameras outweigh the concerns over privacy violations.

"Nobody likes being recorded 24-7, but on the job, officers have to be at the highest level of professionalism and I think the body cams will only promote that," says Aiu.

The former Los Angeles police officer says it will also help reduce the number of frivolous complaints by citizens.  He also points out, the public is already recording confrontations on cell phones but often those confrontations don't capture the minutes before the incident.

During Kauai's test run, one officer was accused of misconduct by a citizen. That officer was one of those chosen to use the body cam and that video cleared the case within hours.

The videos are uploaded when the devices are put on the charger, the clips cannot be deleted or altered in any way without special clearance.

KPD is moving forward with the program and hope to buy 120 body cameras within the year. The cost will be about $140,000 for the first year and about $40,000 every year after that for storage of the videos.

State lawmakers have pushed the Honolulu Police Chief to consider body cams too after he was criticized for his department's handling of domestic violence cases. Chief Louis Kealoha says he is looking into it but is worried about the cost to outfit HPD's much larger force.

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