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Hawaii Police Department Preparing To Use Body Cameras

Tony Webster/Wikimedia Commons
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KAILUA-KONA — The Hawaii Police Department plans to have officers outfitted with body cameras early next year, officials said.

Police Chief Paul Ferreira said nearly $400,000 has been allocated in the 2019-2020 Hawaii County budget for a body-worn camera program, West Hawaii Today reported Monday.

Ferreira wants to roll out the program between January and March 2020. He said the initiative was a department priority before he took over as chief at the end of 2016, with sufficient funding now providing the opportunity to move forward.

Hawaii County will be the last of the state's four counties to implement a body-worn camera program.

The Big Island department is prepared to procure 300 cameras for uniformed patrol officers, traffic enforcement units and specialized unit officers, he said.

The $400,000 budget is projected to cover camera acquisition, storage, equipment to make redactions, and salaries for three full-time staff members. An additional $200,000 is expected to be needed annually to maintain the program.

"All of that is in place. Right now, we're in the process of developing the program. We're in the process of developing the policies," Ferreira said.

The relevant policies include officer use of cameras, footage retention and review, disclosure, and accountability, ACLU of Hawaii Policy Director Mandy Fernandes said.

"The devil is really in the details of body cameras," Fernandes said, adding that the community should have input regarding those policies.

"To my knowledge, we have not seen any sort of meaningful opportunity for the community who is going to be most affected by this to be heard," Fernandes said.

Ferreira said he is open to public comment.

"I'm open to anything anybody has to say," he said.

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