Honolulu police warn
of deteriorating fleet

The mayor has urged that money
be appropriated for new squad cars

Honolulu police officials welcome Mayor Mufi Hannemann's call to buy 40 new squad cars, but they say many more are needed.

"Our fleet is deteriorating," Police Chief Boisse Correa said yesterday at the first day of budget hearings before the City Council's Budget Committee. "We're working 24 hours on the cars, and the cars are falling apart. We're just repairing and repairing these old cars. We just don't have enough cars out there."

Hannemann highlighted the budget request in his State of the City address last month.

But because Hannemann asked the department to keep all equipment requests to a little more than $1.9 million, officials asked for just 40 new cars at a cost of about $45,000 each. They said they really need 116 cars.

"At least for this time for this year, we can function with what we have with the 40 coming in as replacements for the ones that are just falling apart," Correa said.

The same goes for motorcycles. Department officials said they could use 11 replacement motorcycles to help with traffic, but there is no request for them this year.

Assistant Chief Karl Godsey said the department has cars as old as 1989 models used as backup patrol cars.

Godsey said the car shortage in the department was exacerbated when 81 three-wheeled Go-4 police vehicles were grounded in 2001 because of safety concerns.

Those officers who used the Go-4s then switched to cars, although no replacement vehicles were ever acquired for the downed Go-4s.

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