Looks like we finally have a (brief) update on the the Maui Police Department’s body camera study, which began earlier this month.
“The Plans, Training, Research and Development Section has scheduled a one month feasibility study on the use of body-worn cameras,” states a Maui Police Department press release sent out today (Apr. 17). “The study is scheduled to begin on Monday, April 6, 2015. The results of the study will assist the Maui Police Department in making informed decisions about the implementation of this technology in the future.”
Um, was this news release perhaps intended to go out a bit earlier? Because Apr. 6 was 11 days ago. Anyway, any information on the MPD camera study is good, because the department has really been tight-lipped about releasing, well, any sort of information on the cameras and their use (click here for five questions we asked the MPD spokesman that he refused to answer when the department first announced the study last month).
There’s not much else included in the new press release. We still don’t know, for instance, whether the cameras are always running or if the officers wearing them will have the discretion to turn them on and off. Nor do we know how many officers are taking part in the test, or what will become of the footage shot during the tests.
The release does show that the department is testing two types of cameras, both AXON models manufactured by Taser (yes, the same company that makes non-lethal weapons). These are very popular camera models for police departments around the nation (the Los Angeles Police Department plans to outfit 7,000 of its officers with them). Though the MPD press release states that “Use of these cameras is not indicative to any future use or decision to solely utilize these proprietary cameras by Taser International,” it’s highly likely that the MPD will eventually adopt similiar cameras because, as this March Marketwatch report states, Taser basically dominates the law enforcement camera market.
The first camera (pictured above as modeled by the lovely Sergeant J. Medeiros) is mounted on the officer’s chest. According to Taser, this model retails for $399. The second (pictured below) is attached to an officer’s sunglasses. Taser’s website states that this model costs $599.
Click here for our primer on the use of police body cameras around the Mainland.
Photos courtesy Maui Police Department