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Hee wants law enforcement changes at 'Iolani Palace

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 03:01 p.m. HST, Feb 26, 2014

Recent vandalism at 'Iolani Palace is prompting a state senator to call for a change in the agency that polices the historic landmark.

State Senate Judiciary Chairman Clayton Hee wants the sheriff's division to have law enforcement authority, instead of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, Hawaii News Now reported. He proposes adding $200,000 to the budget for four deputies to patrol the palace.

Vandals broke a priceless window about two weeks ago.

"We need to take better care of the palace there's no question about it," Hee said. "And in my opinion, it's in the state's responsibility, so that leaves the sheriffs, as opposed to fish and game wardens."

'Iolani Palace Executive Director Kippen de Alba Chu agreed the iconic symbol of Hawaiian royalty deserves better protection. The palace hires about 10 private security guards to patrol the grounds, but they do not have law enforcement powers.

DLNR Chairman William Aila said it's currently working well to have Honolulu police and sheriffs back up DLNR officers.

When the etched window was broken at about 8 a.m. on a Saturday, the private guards called police, who called sheriff deputies and DLNR officers. Police and deputies arrived within a few minutes. But DLNR officers took 25 minutes to arrive, a department spokeswoman said.

DLNR officers don't have adequate staff or law enforcement training, Hee said.

Aila acknowledged staffing is a challenge: "We can't have someone at the palace all the time."

Shawn Tsuha, deputy public safety director for law enforcement, said it may be "cleaner" to give DLNR extra money to hire more officers and allow the department to retain law enforcement control over the palace.

"We most definitely have to sit down with DLNR and look at what the jurisdictional issues are regarding the palace and talk with the palace caretakers to see what their needs are," Tsuha said.

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tutulois wrote:
Better law enforcement coverage at the Palace has been needed for a long time! Hope this works out.
on February 26,2014 | 03:13PM
joseph007 wrote:
$ 200,000 "initially" for 4 officers. That don't take into their supervisor, office help, new dwellings and other administrative costs, not including pensions, sick pay, vacations and, oh ya, the kids or nephews hired from the politicians family.
on February 27,2014 | 07:57AM
Mythman wrote:
DLNR took 25 minutes to respond? What were they doing for 25 minutes, pizzing off Rep Hano Hano?
on February 26,2014 | 04:43PM
2NDC wrote:
Many of them work in the field in their areas of operation (mainly the oceans and the mountains). Putting things in perspective and knowing their staffing levels, 25 minutes is actually pretty quick. Having the funds to assign a dedicated DLNR officer to the palace would be a good thing. This could be accomplished by cutting out two of the private security officers per shift.
on February 26,2014 | 07:10PM
LMO wrote:
Get the money for repairs from the vandals that broke the windows.
on February 27,2014 | 02:00AM
Smiley7 wrote:
"Cleaner"? DLNR? Why no direction from the top? Auwe!
on February 27,2014 | 03:23AM
Spikette wrote:
Long overdue for law enforcement personnel to guard our state treasures. Hee got it right this time.
on February 27,2014 | 04:17AM
none wrote:
Lot of homeless people hanging out and sleeping on the sidewalks nearby. Get rid of them and the vandalism will stop.
on February 27,2014 | 04:22AM
Bully wrote:
Do something.
on February 27,2014 | 12:36PM
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