UH increases security but not with police
In September the University of Hawaii announced that it was hiring two off-duty police officers to help with campus security at Manoa. The next day, however, Honolulu Police Chief Boisse Correa was noncommittal about that and said it hadn't been approved. Supposedly, HPD is negotiating with UH as to whether it will allow off-duty officers on campus. What's happening?
Answer: Six additional security guards have been hired to patrol UH-Manoa, but the reality is "it is not going to be feasible for the university or HPD" to have off-duty officers assigned to the campus, said Kathy Cutshaw, Manoa's vice chancellor of administration.
"We've come to that decision after a couple of meetings," she told us yesterday. In light of that, UH is focusing on "internally beef(ing) up" its security force and lessening its administrative duties.
In response to a recent on-campus burglary and sexual assault, UH had announced plans to hire off-duty police officers.
However, with HPD the problem was a matter of jurisdiction.
"HPD's function in the state is emergency response, so it will respond to us on any emergency," Cutshaw explained. "They feel it's more the sheriffs' responsibility, because we are a state agency, to provide the day-to-day extra coverage if we needed it."
However, the Sheriff's Office had "manpower issues" -- not enough staff to commit to a campus substation, even though UH was willing to pay for the staffing, Cutshaw said.
On its end, the Manoa campus already has hired six of eight guards it wanted to add to its security force, bringing the number to 33.
Cutshaw said UH is preparing to ask for additional funds in its supplemental budget "for enhanced security." It also is looking to make administrative changes to the duties and responsibilities of current guards.
For example, guards currently go around securing each building at night as well as picking up money from all the cashiers' offices -- responsibilities they were assigned as budget cuts took place, Cutshaw said.
UH is looking at hiring outside companies to pick up the cash and lock the buildings so that the guards can focus on "actual security," she said.
Campus guards are not allowed to carry weapons, and that will not change any time soon, especially since obtaining police authority for them would require a change in state statutes, Cutshaw said.
Instead, "we're going to structurally look at what we have and look at giving them more training and giving them more visibility and see if that's a functional working model for the institution," she said.
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