Lawmaker pushing to buy body cams for police statewide

Lawmaker pushing to buy body cams for police statewide

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Kauai Police Department has already been testing body cams and plans on spending $135,000 to purchase the devices this year. But if Senate Bill 199 passes, KPD could get all that money back.

SB 199 would provide millions to equip all the states police departments with cameras, allowing each department the choice of body cameras or dash cameras for cars.

"I'm confident that it's a very good idea, the question is whether we'll have the appropriations that we can give to the counties," says State Senator Will Espero, who introduced the bill.

He wants the following money provided for each department, for each of the next two years.

Honolulu City & County = $700,000

Maui County = $250,000

Hawaii County = $250,000

Kauai County = $150,000

"Those are initial numbers for two years depending on the revenue that comes in and what's available, that number can go up and can go down," says Espero.

Storage of the data costs tens of thousands of dollars additionally every year, depending on the length of time and amount of data kept. KPD plans on spending $40,000 a year for data storage and warranties.

Police departments all over the country are buying body cams after high-profile, officer-involved incidents. Espero believes cameras will help both cops and those who they protect and serve.

"There hasn't been a lot of opposition and people see this as an opportunity to provide transparency for our police officers and the work they're doing and to protect officers as well as the general public," says Espero.

SB 199 is moving to the Ways and Means Committee.  If it passes there it will go to the full Senate then to the House.  So there are still many steps ahead of the bill before it becomes reality.

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