Organizations claiming to stand for protection of Mauna Kea gather at Kalanimoku Building
A press conference was held simultaneously with the meeting of the Board of Land and Natural Resources, but was not officially part of the meeting.
Several individuals spoke about the Department of Land and Natural Resource's removal of two 'hale' and 'ahu' last Thursday.
Attorney Lance Collins, representing Kahea, the Hawaiian Environmental Alliance warned against the DLNR's purchase of an LRAD or Long Range Acoustic Device sound cannon.
According to the manufacturer's website, LRAD is an acoustic device originally developed for the military and is capable of sending pain-inducing "deterrent" tones over long distances.
"DOCARE does have an LRAD now and they have a contract with the LRAD Corporation to main the use of it for the next six months," Collins said. "LRAD causes immediate physical discomfort. It not only affects the inner ear mechanism, but it also causes people to lose control of bodily functions."
DLNR spent nearly $15,000 to buy the LRAD sound system. The state believes it will help them reach the public during emergencies because it was difficult to do so in remote locations on the Big Island last year.
"At today's news conference, several speakers indicated that officers serving with the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) do not have full police powers," A DLNR spokesperson said in response.
DLNR references Hawaii Revised Statutes HRS-199-4 and HRS-199-3 in regards to the above statement, specifically the first paragraph in HRS-199-4.
DLNR further states, "DOCARE Officers are sworn to uphold all the laws of the State of Hawaii and its counties with full police powers and will conduct all other duties as assigned."
DLNR's full statement regarding the use of LRAD is included below:
Long Range Acoustic Device systems are currently used in 72 countries and in more than 400 U.S. cities, counties, and states to ensure public safety communications and emergency warnings are clearly heard and understood.
DOCARE officers are often called upon in their roles as State Law Enforcement Officers to provide warnings in emergency situations for public safety purposes.
Over the past year, DOCARE officers have had the responsibility of warning large groups of people of impending hurricanes and the Kilauea eruption in Puna.
DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) purchased a 100x portable battery powered public address and hailing system kit from LRAD Corporation this year.
The LRAD Corp. states: “The system purchased by the Hawaii Dept. of Land and Natural Resources is used for public address and emergency notifications. LRAD is not a ‘sound cannon.’ The LRAD 100X system has been used by local law enforcement agencies to broadcast evacuation notices; for instance during wildfires in Colorado last year: https://www.lradx.com/video/lrad100x-used-broadcasst-fire-evacuation-notices-colorado/.”
The public address and hailing system is not a weapon and is not listed in DOCARE’s use of force continuum.
The assertion that DOCARE utilized an LRAD in association with protests on Maui’s Haleakala several years ago is completely false.
The purchase of a portable battery powered public address and hailing system kit by DOCARE was done following state procurement rules and is a matter of public record.
This was in no way a “secret purchase” as alleged by Kahea. Kahea made two open records requests, to which DOCARE responded in full.
The recent television report depicted a completely different model with different capabilities and was not an accurate depiction of the device acquired by DLNR/DOCARE. We note that the 100X is the smallest such system offered by LRAD.
We understand and acknowledge the concerns raised regarding use of excessive force on nonviolent noncombatants. The LRAD system purchased by DOCARE is not intended to be used in that way. The LRAD is a legitimate useful tool for law enforcement in appropriate situations in compliance with law and standard use of force policy.