Test results show corrections officers drug freeUPDATED 11:07 PM HST Mar 03, 2014Video Transcript
How deep does the drug problem run at the Halawa correctional facility? All new tonight ... KITV4 digs through the records. Good evening and thanks for joining us, I'm Paula Akana. And I'm Kenny Choi in for Yunji DeNies. After the arrest of two corrections officers for alleged "ice" dealing inside the facility.... KITV4 set out to discover whether guards have been caught USING drugs as well. Our Andrew Pereira has the results of random drug testing and joins us with more. Andrew? Kennny, Paula... The results show the Department of Public Safety is doing a good job in making sure corrections officers ARE clean and sober. The arrests of Halawa prison guards James Sanders and Mark Damas blew the lid off a sobering problem... Drugs keep finding their way into Hawaii's prisons, and sometimes it's apparently the GOOD GUYS turning bad. TED SAKAI: "WE BELIEVE A LOT OF IT IS GANG RELATED AND THE GANGS HAVE A WAY OF REACHING THEIR TENTACLES INTO THE COMMUNITY. SO, WE'RE ALL TOGETHER IN TRYING TO STOP THIS." Part of the dragnet by the Department of Public Safety involves the random drug testing of adult corrections officers. Under a collective bargaining agreement with United Public Workers, prison guards can be randomly tested without warning for illegal drugs like cocaine, marijuana and ice. TED SAKAI: "HIS WATCH COMMANDER IMMEDIATELY GOES TO THE OFFICER AND SAYS, 'YOU HAVE TO GO FOR A TEST RIGHT NOW.' SO, THERE'S REALLY NO NOTICE GIVEN TO THE EMPLOYEE." Under DPS policy, commanders are in the same room as a prison guard submits a urine sample. In 2012, 136 guards out of the 305 working at Halawa were given a random drug test, or 44.5 percent. Nearly the same number submitted to random testing the following year. For both years, not one positive result at Halawa. At OCCC, 188 guards out of the 375 at the prison submitted to random drug testing in 2012, or more than half. The number of guards tested in 2013 was about the same. However, four guards did test positive for drug use, a very small percentage. SEN. WILL ESPERO: "IT DOES APPEAR THEY ARE GETTING A GOOD NUMBER TESTED AND HOPEFULLY THEY ARE ROTATING THOSE AND RANDOMLY CHOOSING THEM SO THAT EVERYBODY WILL GET TESTED AT ONE POINT OR ANOTHER OVER A YEAR OR TWO OR THREE AT THE MOST." Any guard who fails a random drug test is suspended for 20 days and offered drug treatment. After a second positive result, the guard is fired. However drug dealers are not necessarily drug users, and its not known if Sanders or Damas ever tested positive drugs. That's why DPS monitors corrections officers for changes in behavior that could prompt so-called testing for cause. TED SAKAI: "AND IF WE DO AND WE CAN DOCUMENT THAT, THEN WE CAN SEND THE EMPLOYEE FOR A CAUSE TESTING, FOR A CAUSE TEST." Sakai says the random drug- testing policy has been in place since 2000. Both Sanders and Damas remain free on bond as they await trial on federal drug trafficking charges. Paula?