Tuesday, September 11, 2001


State, city react
quickly with terrorism
response plans

Security is tightened at government
buildings, in Waikiki and around utilities

By Nelson Daranciang and Helen Altonn |

Shortly after word came of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, state and county officials put a terrorism response plan into place.

Honolulu police provided added security at potential terrorist targets.

"Obviously Waikiki is a potential target for an international terrorist. We've beefed up our security forces there as well as security forces around government buildings and of course around utilities, water supply and the things you would expect as potential targets," said Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris.

Gov. Ben Cayetano ordered a "semi-mobilization" of the National Guard. Planes were scrambled and troops called in.

"We really have to be in maximum alert and be prepared for any thing," he said.

Cayetano said the National Guard will assist county police departments and state law enforcement agencies such as airport and harbor patrols.

Hawaii is better prepared than most states for acts of terrorism because of state, county and federal planning under a series of grants since 1997, says Salvatore S. Lanzilotti, director, City-County Department of Emergency Services.

Honolulu was one of the first 27 cities funded to develop a Metropolitan Medical Response System, he said. Government agencies have been concerned since 1982 when a Pan American flight from Japan had a bomb that exploded, killing a 15-year-old and injuring some people, as it was coming into Honolulu, Lanzilotti said.

The civil defense agencies in all four counties were coordinating efforts with the state Civil Defense Agency.

All city offices were opened and scheduled employees were expected to report to work. However, police officers were at the entrances to the Municipal Building to check the identifications of city employees reporting for work. The employees were then required to sign in at the building's security kiosk.

Oil and gas companies and all utilities were contacted to make sure they weren't in danger and the Honolulu Police Department set things up so it could monitor areas believed to be possible targets.

The Emergency Medical Services system put on five extra units, Lanzilotti said.

"Police are on alert to see if they can detect anything and the rest of us are in kind of a wait mode to see if there are any consequences," he said.

Patrol officers who were scheduled to end their 12-hour shifts at 6 a.m. were held over until 9 a.m. Honolulu firefighters changed shifts at 8 a.m. as scheduled. However all training and drills were canceled and engine companies not responding to calls were asked to stay in quarters, said Capt. Richard Soo, Honolulu Fire Department spokesman.

The Kauai County Emergency Operating Center was activated this morning for "informational and facilitative purposes" according to Civil Defense Administrator, Mark Marshall.

On the Big Island, Mayor Harry Kim ordered all schools closed as well as the University of Hawaii system on the island, county spokesperson Janet Snyder said. Police said they were making periodic checks of federal and state buildings, harbors and airports.

No actual problems were reported, Snyder said. "These are all proactive measures," she said.

Maui Mayor James Apana has canceled a town meeting with residents that was to take place at 6:30 tonight at the Wailuku Community Center.

County spokesperson Karlynn Kawahara said police have been asked to assist in traffic control at the Kahului Airport, once the airports are opened.

"We expect a huge rush at the airport, once it opens," she said.

Reporters Richard Borreca, Rod Thompson, Gary Kubota
and Tony Sommers contributed to this story.

E-mail to City Desk

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