KILAUEA — The Kauai Police Department is seeking grants for 105 Axon cameras for officers to wear.
It would cost an estimated $124,000 annually to equip officers with cameras, although details on when those devices could be online on Kauai hasn’t been hashed out.
Still, it’s equipment the department has been eyeing for more than a year as a way to improve transparency and documentation.
“This administration believes that transparency is very important to maintaining the trust of our citizens and in that regard we are always exploring better ways to enhance that relationship while maintaining the highest standards of service delivery,” Police Chief Darryl Perry said in a statement.
The cameras record incidents as they occur without editing. This gives an accurate depiction of what transpired and comes as close as possible to having an unbiased eyewitness at the scene. The original copy of the recordings are not subject to editing, alterations, or modification, and is safely secured and stored from tampering at an offsite secured facility contracted with a vendor.
Lt. Paul Applegate led a presentation on securing the cameras during a community outreach meeting Tuesday at the Kilauea Neighborhood Center. More meetings are planned across the island to engage officers with residents.
Axon body cameras are made by the company, Taser. One type of Axon technology includes sunglasses that have a camera inside of them. The devices have the capability to record in real time from the officer’s viewpoint.
KPD plans on training officers on using the body cameras once they obtain funding.
A variety of issues came up at the Kilauea meeting, attended by nine people.
“I’m happy overall to have felt the power of the law, and I am grateful,” Kilauea resident Lorraine Newman said, in reference to KPD’s quick response to past incident she experienced.
Felicia Cowden, on the other hand, an activist from the North Shore who previously ran for Council Council, expressed frustration with the department.
“I’m afraid, there is an excessive use of force, I see helicopters above my house, and I wonder why they are there.”
Another attendee, Simon Spring, said his neighborhood seems to be doing well.
“I feel safe here,” he said.
According to KPD, there have been decreases and increases in certain crimes in various districts from 2013 to 2014.
Second-degree theft in Lihue decreased from 172 to 111 thefts, while Kawaihau went from 113 to 47 thefts.
First-degree burglary rates in Lihue increased to 88 from 64 while Kawaihau went to 127 burglaries from 51.
Unlawful entry into a motor vehicle increased in Lihue from 63 to 110 entries, while Hanalei jumped from 35 to 73.