Kauai police union may file complaint over body cameras

LIHUE >> A Hawaii police union will file a labor board complaint if it doesn’t get final approval on a policy governing the first widespread use of body cameras in the state.

The State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers says a body camera policy implemented without its final approval would violate Kauai County’s contract with the union, Hawaii News Now reported.

“We’ve always been in support of the camera,” said union president Tenari Maafala. “But we just want to address the concerns of other jurisdictions on the mainland that we’ve learned from that have already implemented the camera protocols, that we want to make sure that we’re in alignment and we learn from their challenges.”

Kauai Police Chief Darryl Perry said the contract does not give the union final say.

“All we want to make sure is that SHOPO has input,” Perry said.

Perry said the policy is in its ninth draft and includes 95 percent of the recommended changes, with the unaddressed portion dealing with when officers can turn cameras on and off.

Perry said the county addressed concerns over information storage, privacy rights, video requests, training, and video review.

“We … and the majority of the officers and their (union) members want the body-worn cameras,” he said. “But SHOPO for some reason is putting this roadblock in front of us.”

Maafala said 95 percent of the recommended changes is not enough.

“There’s still 5 percent that we need to address,” she said. “That 5 percent we haven’t gotten back from Kauai that we can review and render an official rebuttal to what he’s saying.”

Kauai police officers could be using eye-wear cameras by mid-November. Maui County and the Big Island plan to follow.