A handful of Honolulu Police Department officers should be outfitted with body-worn cameras by the end of the year as part of a pilot program.

On Wednesday, Acting Police Chief Cary Okimoto told the Honolulu Police Commission that he plans to outfit 20 officers in the patrol and traffic divisions with body cameras.

He also said that HPD has signed off on a policy for the cameras that has been approved by the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers, the statewide police union.

HPD Acting Police Chief Cary Okimoto at Police Commisssion Mtg. 2 feb 2017
Acting Police Chief Cary Okimoto said 20 HPD officers will start using body cameras soon. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

“It’s set,” Okimoto said. “It’s signed off and approved by the union.”

According to HPD, the body cameras will be split between motorcycle officers in the traffic division and the third-watch patrol officers in District 1, which includes downtown, Chinatown, Kakaako and Makiki.

Third watch is from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m.

HPD has been slow to adopt body camera technology despite being the largest police department in the state with nearly 2,000 sworn officers. All three county police departments on Kauai, Maui and the Big Island have already tested the cameras.

On Kauai, the police department has already implemented a permanent program that includes 105 body cameras. The county purchased the equipment from Taser International — which changed its name this month to Axon — for $176,718.

According to Kauai Police Department officials, the technology has drastically reduced the number of use of force incidents and cut down on the time it takes to investigate citizen complaints of officer misconduct.

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