State Should Have Highway Patrol Unit

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I would like to take this opportunity to respond to the editorial submitted by Honolulu Police Chief Lee Donahue in the February 24 issues of the The Honolulu Advertiser, and the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.

Chief Donahue cites what he feels to be a “duplication of services” that would exist in the field of highway traffic enforcement were the state to take over these responsibilities. In actuality, a highway patrol unit would free up police officers for more traditional city and county responsibilities, i.e. 911 calls, complaints, proactive patrol, etc.


This would decrease response time for these calls, and save the counties money. The cost of this effort would be no additional burden, as the funds currently diverted to the Honolulu Police Department for highway traffic enforcement are actually intended, by federal regulation, for state use. It seems the county’s opposition to these measures stems more from issues of retaining control than from altruistic concerns regarding the states financial position.

As to the creation of a state wide training facility for law enforcement officers, HPD’s current training academy was originally intended to be such, as is the trend in most states. This central academy model results in a standardization and consistency of training. In its current condition, I agree the academy’s resources are taxed, but with input and contributions from all counties, and the state, improvements could be made so that it would rival any academy in the nation.

County police chiefs have already gone on the record stating that their agencies are over tasked and under manned. State contribution can only improve this situation. 49 states already have some sort of a highway patrol, do the taxpayers of Hawaii deserve any less?

”’John Chiavelli, a resident of Honolulu, can be reached via email at”’

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