All Hawaii County police to have body cameras by end of week

HILO — By the end of the week, all Big Island police officers with patrol duties will be outfitted with body cameras, an official said.

About 300 officers will be wearing Axon Body 2 cameras, which record in high-definition video, when the rollout is complete. Uniformed patrol, traffic enforcement and community policing officers will wear the cameras, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported.

About half of the officers began wearing the cameras last month. The other half will start wearing them Thursday.

Officers will activate them when they have contact with the public in a law enforcement capacity such as on traffic stops, during arrests, or any call they are assigned to respond to.

They will stop the recording once they are done with an incident.

“Officers are still getting used to it, but most of them are very positive, because it can document the whole incident, and it’s a mode of transparency, as well,” said Sgt. Travis Ing, the body camera program administrator for the Hawaii Police Department.

“You can probably expect officers and the public to be better in front of a camera,” Ing said.

The cameras and cloud storage for the video are provided by the vendor, Axon, formerly known as Taser International.

The cost of the system over five years is $1.8 million, Ing said.

The department has said officers have been trained for instances in which a victim may ask not to be on camera. Officers will use their discretion in such situations and may turn the camera off if asked.

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