Saturday, October 6, 2001

Remember 9-11-01

Honolulu Airport
secure, official says

Increased measures include explosive
detection machines and visible deterrents

By Pat Omandam

Honolulu Airport is one of the best-protected airports in the country during this time of heightened national security, said the airport's federal security manager.

Allen Agor, who reports to the Federal Aviation Administration's assistant administrator for security, said new high-tech explosive detection machines, six canine detection teams, increased security measures and a "battalion strength" of military, federal, state and civilian law enforcement officers provide a highly visible armed deterrent to criminal acts against civilian aviation.

"It's safer to fly now," Agor told legislators reviewing Hawaii's terrorism readiness yesterday. "(Security) is a notch above what it was on Sept. 11."

Agor added that plans for federal control of security at state airports will likely take place in the next six months.

State and federal officials say Hawaii continues to prepare for possible acts of terrorism, although it can never know what, if anything, may be a target.

Edward Correa Jr., adjutant general of the state Department of Defense, said assessment teams reviewed critical state and county buildings yesterday, as well as other infrastructure, to see how they could be protected. Key to all this readiness, Correa said, has been the close communication and coordination developed among all agencies over the past 18 months.

Along with state airports, security at Hawaii's waterways has improved, state harbors manager Barry Kim said. Honolulu Harbor has been closed to recreational vessels while the Coast Guard patrols waters near the airport reef runway.

Also closed is the Aloha Tower observation deck. And all state harbors have been closed indefinitely to pole fishing, Kim said.

State Public Safety Director Ted Sakai said he is reassessing manpower needs at the state courts, prisons, state buildings including the state Capitol, and state airports.

The department's budgets are being reviewed with an emphasis on health, safety and security.

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