First group of Honolulu police get body-worn cameras

First group of Honolulu police get body-worn cameras

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu police issued the first set of body cameras to 35 officers Monday.

Eventually, all 1,200 officers will be equipped. But for now, only officers assigned to downtown Honolulu and working the day shift will have them.

HPD says that's because they're close to headquarters — and the IT unit — in case there are any issues with the devices.

Every month, dozens more will be rolled out. And by the end of the year, hundreds of body cams should be out on the streets.

Officer Joelyn DeCaires is one of the first 35 getting the body cams.

"We're just still trying to get used to it, downloading the programs and that, but other than that it's a work in progress. We'll figure it out," DeCaires said.

Honolulu is the third county to use body-worn cameras in the state.

Kauai police started in 2014. Maui police started in 2017.

HPD is paying $3.5 million for the 1,200 body cams to equip every officer.

It will then cost $1.5 million a year to maintain the cameras and store the videos.

Officers are required to keep the cameras "on" during their shift, but they don't have to continuously record.

"Policy requires them to use it during any interaction with the public, either self-initiated or when they are sent to a case," said Capt. Radde Vanic, who adds the entire interaction has to be recorded.

DeCaires believes it could help both the public and police.

She said she has been the target of past complaints and she believes body cameras could have easily proven her side. She hopes the cameras will show the good that officers do.

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