KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii (AP) — Hawaii County is now the only police department in the state not to have body cameras.

Hawaii County Police Chief Paul Ferreira stated in an email last week that body cams are a priority for the department but funding remains an issue, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported .

Hawaii County was the first to test body cams in the state in 2013, Hawaii Police Maj. Samuel Thomas said. While the cameras are affordable, the program, storage of video from the cameras and redaction tools are costly.

Hawaii County police have applied for at least four grants since 2013 seeking funding for the body cam program, Thomas said. However, those grants were not awarded.

The department has done research into various other grants that are available to acquire body cam equipment and storage, according to Ferreira.

"However, the department would still need to provide partial funding as well as funding for additional personnel to maintain the program, which has not been available due to the economic situation in the County," he added.

The body cam program would cost the county $400,000 annually, Thomas said last year. But Thomas said that figure now has grown.

He said the department also would need to hire a minimum of three people to run the program.

Aside from salaries and wages, the 2018-19 budget was cut by 5 to 7 percent, Thomas said.

In the department's supplemental budget request it asks for funding of 300 cameras that would cover all its uniformed patrol officers, traffic enforcement units, and specialized unit officers.


Information from: Hawaii Tribune-Herald, http://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/