HPD asks Council to fund body cams
Costs include up to $2.5 million for gear and $4 million per year for data storage
Honolulu police officials Tuesday urged City Council members to provide funding for a permanent, departmentwide body-worn camera program.
A full rollout for a departmentwide program would cost between $2 million and $2.5 million for equipment, said HPD Capt. Rade Vanic, body camera project manager. That would include the cameras, supporting hardware, infrastructure upgrades and dedicated power lines, he said.
That’s in addition to the estimated $3.5 million to $4 million needed annually to store the data and fund personnel to manage the storage, Vanic told the Council’s Public Health, Safety and Welfare Committee. Previously, HPD officials said storing and managing the data were their biggest cost concerns, although Tuesday was the first time they attached a dollar figure to those concerns. Vanic said it’s also likely that HPD will want to upgrade its cameras roughly every five years, which is about the estimated life of the cameras and also typically the life of a contract with a body camera company. “Otherwise, we run the risk of using outdated technology,” he said. HPD wants to be able to provide a body camera to every uniformed officer who comes into frequent contact with the public, Vanic said. “That’s anywhere between 1,400 and 1,500 officers.” New HPD Chief Susan Ballard, making her first appearance before Council members, asked for their support on the body camera program.
“We are going to move ahead with it, but obviously we’re going to need your support so far as the monetary issues because if we don’t have the money to support the program, and it’s not done correctly, it can actually do more harm than good,” Ballard said. A majority of HPD officers “see the value of the program,” she said. Officers will be allowed to view their own recorded videos for work purposes but will not able to alter them, Vanic said.
A long-term vendor has not been selected.
A pilot project involving a 30-day field-testing period using cameras from law enforcement technology
HPD’s new chief says a majority of officers “see the value” of using body-worn cameras ———
company Axon got underway Nov. 6, Vanic said. Participating are 77 to 85 officers: 44 from the third watch (2 to 11 p.m.) of the Central Honolulu Patrol District, about 29 officers from the Traffic Division’s Night Enforcement Unit, six from HPD’s morning motorcycle detail and four to five officers at the police academy, he said.
Axon is picking up the cost of the pilot program. A pre-pilot, “controlled testing” program was initiated with one body-worn camera vendor in September. “We discovered there were some issues regarding uploading, storage, downloading (and) redaction,” Vanic said. The vendor could not resolve the issue, and testing ceased, he said.
The body cameras are placed on an officer’s shirt front. HPD’s nine-page body camera policy calls for the cameras to be turned on whenever officers respond to an active call for service or initiate
The body-worn camera program, we are going to move ahead with it, but obviously we’re going to need your support so far as the monetary issues because if we don’t have the money to support the program and it’s not done correctly, it can actually do more harm than good.”
Susan Ballard Honolulu Police Department chief
contact with the public. Videos are uploaded at the end of a shift and then retained for at least 13 months.