Friday, February 21, 2003

Police said they hope to have all 14 of the Honolulu Police Department cellblock's locks fixed this weekend. Later upgraded locks will be installed on all 40 cell doors at a cost of $500 per door. Auto-theft suspect Jessie Dutro, left, was recaptured yesterday in Kailua after escaping from his cell Monday.

Police plan to fix
all cell locks
by weekend

A broken latch is
partly to blame for
a theft suspect's escape

By Nelson Daranciang

Honolulu police say they have fixed one of the 14 broken locks at the Police Department's main headquarters cellblock, and they are checking local locksmiths for the parts to repair the remaining 13.

The department hopes to have all of the doors repaired by the weekend, otherwise those cells will not be used, said Robert Prasser, assistant police chief of HPD's Executive Bureau.

The 14 doors were found to have defective springs to the lock's auxiliary latch. Replacement springs cost less than $1, but with labor, police estimate the cost will be $60 a door.

The auxiliary latch prevents the lock from being shimmied open.

Police Chief Lee Donohue said auto theft suspect Jessie Dutro used his plastic identification bracelet to shimmy open the lock to his cell door Monday in the first known escape from an HPD cellblock. Dutro's cell door was one of the 14 found to have a defective auxiliary latch.

Dutro was recaptured yesterday in Kailua.

Since police moved into their headquarters at 801 S. Beretania St. in 1992, there has been no history of maintenance on the door locks, and there have been no reports of problems with the locks, Prasser said. However, one lock was replaced in 1994, he said.

There are 53 adult cells and five juvenile cells in the police cellblock. The 14 doors with defective locks are among 40 cells with the same kind of door and lock. One of the 40 is a padded cell for juveniles. The rest are adult cells. All of the doors with defective locks were to adult cells.

The department plans to install upgraded locks in all 40 doors at an estimated cost of $500 a door, Prasser said.

Honolulu Police Department

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