Security for November’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference is expected to be tight despite the loss of $5 million in federal subsidies, Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha said.
"We have enough to do what we have to do," Kealoha said earlier this month in response to the loss of the earmarked funding.
The money was part of Hawaii’s $321 million share of a controversial $1.3 trillion appropriations bill that U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye said he would no longer support after President Barack Obama vowed to veto any bill containing earmarks.
The Honolulu Police Department is already allocating $20 million for APEC security — $10 million in fiscal year 2011, which ends June 30, and $10 million in fiscal 2012.
"The more money you have, the more things you can do," Kealoha said. "But with the budget we have from the city, we’re still be able to train and equip and prepare our personnel for APEC."
The money would have gone to additional training and equipment, "perhaps even bringing additional people over from other jurisdictions," Kealoha said. "This is going to be bare-bones, but it’s going to meet our objectives."
City Councilwoman Tulsi Gabbard Tamayo, chairwoman of the Council’s Safety, Economic Development and Government Affairs Committee, said she wants to see what other resources might be available for HPD to tap.
"Making sure that this event goes off without a hitch is of greatest concern, especially from a security standpoint," Gabbard Tamayo said. "So I’m actively looking for other possible sources of federal funding that could be used to help either reimburse or subsidize the costs that will be incurred by the county."
State lawmakers are doing the same, she said.
Mayor Peter Carlisle has stated that ensuring a smooth APEC meeting is a top priority for his administration.
Gabbard Tamayo noted that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano recently asked a U.S. Senate committee for $3.8 billion in state and local preparedness grants.
A former aide to U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, Gabbard Tamayo said she and other Council members will take up the matter with the Hawaii congressional delegation in Washington next month during a meeting of the National Association of Counties.
HPD is providing only part of the security for APEC, whose participants will include Obama and heads of state from the Asia-Pacific region. Each will bring their own contingents, which could add another 1,000 visitors. Up to 2,000 members of the news media are also expected.
APEC is anticipated to draw 20,000 visitors.
Because APEC 2011 has been designated by the federal Department of Homeland Security as a National Special Security Event — that is, an attractive target for terrorists — the U.S. Secret Service is responsible for the conference’s operational security planning. The FBI is in charge of overall crisis management, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency also has a role.
Security planning for APEC 2011 has been extremely secretive, and details are scarce. A planning conference was held last month in Waikiki, and Max Milien, a Secret Service spokesman and APEC 2011’s designated spokesman on security issues, declined to discuss even the agenda.
Some 35 federal, state and city agencies are involved in the initial planning, Milien said in an e-mail response to questions.
"For operational reasons, we do not discuss the personnel numbers of law enforcement, public safety or military agencies involved," he said. "Although we cannot discuss the methods and means we utilize to carry out our protective responsibilities, we can say there is a tremendous amount of advance planning and coordination in the areas of venue security, air space security, training, communications and credentialing."
There have been 37 other events since 1998 that have been designated National Special Security Events, including political party conventions, Super Bowls and yesterday’s Academy Awards ceremony.
"The planning for the APEC differs logistically from prior NSSE events because this event will take place on an island," Milien said. "However, this is not the first protective visit to the island by this agency and we will utilize the excellent partnerships that have been established with our local, state and federal partners from previous visits to assist us with this event."
The Secret Service has had to organize security for the Obamas’ winter vacation trips here.
HPD also steps up security for the Obamas and their party, and has not been reimbursed for the additional costs.
Former Mayor Mufi Hannemann, now head of the Hawaii Hotel and Lodging Association, echoed comments made Thursday by Mayor Carlisle in his State of the City speech: "If we don’t get reimbursed, I think that’s something the city is going to have to absorb because the benefit to the city from an overall perspective is a tremendous one."
APEC’s Hawaii Host Committee, headed by a group of the state’s top business leaders, is working with participating nations and the Secret Service to determine how best to house the delegations at Waikiki hotels, Hannemann said.
"The hotels are definitely looking forward to hosting the delegations, and they (are) fulfilling all the requirements that are being asked for them to be able to host such delegations," he said.
Most of the delegations are expected to stay in and around Waikiki because it has the largest inventory of rooms and because of its proximity to the Hawai’i Convention Center, where the conference will be held.
Based in Singapore, APEC, with 21 member nations, promotes trade and sustainable economic growth in the region.