Councilwoman calls for more officers, community leaders to help tackle crime on Oahu's Leeward Coast
After two incidents involving guns in Waianae over the weekend, Honolulu City Council member Kymberly Pine is calling for more patrol on the Leeward Coast, but not just from police. She is asking community leaders to do their part, too.
City and state leaders are calling for more help in all forms to tackle crime on Oahu's west side.
Following two incidents involving guns in Waianae over the weekend, Honolulu City Council member Kymberly Pine is calling for more patrol on the Leeward Coast, but not just from police. She is asking community leaders to do their part, too.
"We need to come together in so many different levels that we have never come to before.. where civil leaders are going to have be involved, social workers are going to have to be involved, and addiction services," Pine said.
Pine, who represents Oahu's Leeward Coast, says she recently met with the Honolulu Police Department to discuss increasing the number of officers in Waianae. She says more police protection and patrolling in the area is an "important part of the solution."
"The community would like to see more staff.. we're waiting for more information from the Police Chief who is doing a study island-wide to make sure that each district has equality in their staffing," she added.
A spokesperson for the Honolulu Police Department says currently one sergeant and six officers are assigned to the sector that covers Nanakuli to Makaha. In addition, one other officer works the desk at the Waianae Substation.
"That's about a 10 to 12 mile stretch of coastline that they have to monitor and respond to calls," State Representative Cedric Gates said.
Representative Gates, who represents Waianae, Makaha, Makua and Maili, echoes Councilwoman Pine. He says he's been made aware that at times it can take up to 30 minutes for police to respond to incidents on the Leeward side, adding that the department is spread "thin." Gates recently helped pass HR16, a resolution that requests for an increased police presence in high-crime neighborhoods across Oahu, including Waianae.
"We do need a more broad police presence," he said. "I know that HPD is doing the best that they can, but I feel that they may be overburdened with the lack of funding for more officers."
State of Hawaii Police Officers Union (SHOPO) president, Malcolm Lutu says he agrees that there is a need for more officers along the Leeward Coast, but points out that more police requires more money. He also adds that an already understaffed police force could potentially get smaller.
"We're all for it .. cause the more guys we've got out there its safer for our officers too," Lutu said. "But for one we need funding for those positions, and already we are nearly 200 something short of officers and there is at least 300 of us that can retire at anytime,"
Lutu says HPD needs to increase hiring, which he acknowledges is already a top priority for the department.
"We need to come together to fight against violence.. we need to come together.. to show strength together and solve this problem," Pine said.
In effort to tackle crime across Oahu, HPD offers a Neighborhood Security Watch program, which teaches residents how to be the eyes and ears for police.