Happened To...

An update on past news

After problems,
15 Chinatown police
cameras now working

Question: What ever happened to the Chinatown police surveillance cameras?

Answer: Police report that 15 out of 26 surveillance cameras in Chinatown are now working.

Although that is a significant improvement over three years ago when only two of 26 were working, residents are not happy.

"We really need to have them working at their optimum so the police have all the tools they need," said Lynne Matusow, Downtown Neighborhood Board chairwoman.

Police Maj. Michael Tucker said officers have dealt with several problems relating to the surveillance cameras, which have fluctuated in their operation.

"When they're all working, it's a great tool for us," Tucker said.

"Because they're out in the open, you need durability of equipment," he said. "With durability there needs to be maintenance. That's always been an issue for us."

Tucker said the maintenance issue arose after the surveillance system had to be disconnected at the old police substation at South Hotel Street and Nuuanu Avenue and moved to the new Chinatown substation at North Hotel and Maunakea streets.

The system suffered from wiring problems, and vandals damaged the cameras.

Also, the city added 12 cameras to the original 14 and ran short of money to connect those cameras to the system.

In 2001, Siu's Electric Corp. won a contract to upgrade the equipment so the system could handle all 26 cameras.

Security Resources Hawaii protested the bid, causing a 2 1/2-month delay in repairing the cameras.

"The bid protest revolved around an allegation that the selected vendor had to have an electrician's license," said city spokeswoman Carol Costa. "The protester said he would check with the contractor's licensing board, but after a long delay, he never provided any evidence."

Sensormatic Hawaii Inc. won the bid on the maintenance contract, and the city Department of Facility Maintenance budgeted $50,000 for it.

Tucker said that another problem has been getting citizen volunteers to watch the surveillance monitors located at the substation.

"They can zoom in and out, and when they see something, they can alert the officers," he said.

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