Thirty Meter Telescope law enforcement costs slowly being made public
The Honolulu Police Department spent $162,351 to assist the state’s law enforcement efforts on Mauna Kea last month.
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The Honolulu Police Department spent $162,351 to assist the state’s law enforcement efforts on Mauna Kea where demonstrators have been blocking the road leading up to the construction site of the Thirty Meter Telescope for the past month. The figure is just a fraction of what has been expended overall by various law enforcement agencies on Mauna Kea. The total amount has not been released.
The amount expended by HPD covers overtime for officers, airfare and the shipment of vehicles, according to HPD spokeswoman Michelle Yu.
The Honolulu Police Department, as well as officers from Maui County and Hawaii island, were sent to assist law enforcement efforts as the state was preparing for telescope construction to begin July 15. In recent weeks officers from the Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement, which is part of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, have been the most visible law enforcement presence on the mountain.
HPD has sought reimbursement for the costs from the Attorney General’s Office, which is expected to cover the costs of law enforcement assistance from the counties.
Hawaii County said last week that it had expended $258,000 on law enforcement activities relating to Mauna Kea, which included overtime for police officers and supplies. That figure, however, covers only July 1 to 15, just as law enforcement activities were ramping up. Additional information about the county’s costs are expected to be provided to the Hawaii County Council in the coming days.
The Attorney General’s Office has been coordinating law enforcement activities on Mauna Kea, which, in addition to the county police departments and DOCARE, have included state sheriffs, employees of the Attorney General’s Office and the National Guard.
Hawaii Attorney General Clare Connors said during a press conference July 16, as protests against the telescope were just getting underway, that her office was keeping close track of all the project-related expenses. “We are ensuring that everyone is clear about what is being expended,” she told reporters.
However, the Attorney General’s Office has not responded to multiple requests from the Honolulu Star-Advertiser since then seeking a breakdown of how much has been spent so far.
On Aug. 8 the Star-Advertiser asked the Attorney General’s Office for how much had been spent so far by the various state agencies, but it has yet to receive that information. The Attorney General’s Office also did not respond to a question about when the information would be available.
“There’s a lot going on right now so I will do my best to get you something, but I can’t promise to meet your deadlines,” said Krishna Jayaram, a spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office, in an email Monday.