HPD’s body camera program still under development, could launch by year’s end

The Honolulu Police Department says it’ll be a while before it’s ready to roll out its body camera program.

Department officials told the Honolulu City Council Tuesday that the program is still in the planning stage, and won’t be ready until the year’s end at the earliest.

“We don’t want to roll something out just for the sake of rolling it out, but what we’re looking at in the initial discussion is we want to measure it. Because some of the research is it reduces the force used by officers, I guess the public — it also affects the conduct of the public toward the officers. So these things, we want to try and get a true measurement here,” said Maj. Andrew Lum, commander of the department’s information and technology division, “because it’s difficult to compare us to other jurisdictions because they have their own issues and sometimes they’re a lot more severe or serious than what we’re dealing with here.”

Right now, police say they’ve narrowed down the type of body camera that will be used, as well as where it will be placed on the officer. But other questions remain.

“When we did our control field test, we found that the pocket area on our uniforms provided the best vantage point for stability and for capturing of the interaction with the officer and whoever they’re dealing with,” Lum explained. “Some of the issues we’ll be discussing do we put them in the district that has the most amount of calls for service, that way we get more footage, or do we locate areas that seem to have chronic complaints against officers by the public?”

HPD says it will launch a pilot program involving 50 cameras before rolling it out to all officers.

The department did not provide an estimate, but says one of the biggest costs associated with the body camera program is storing the video.

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