NATIONAL NEWS

Hawaii State Capitol to get metal detectors after lawmakers and aides say they don’t feel safe

Jul 3, 2023, 4:56 PM

HONOLULU (AP) — The Hawaii State Capitol will have metal detectors installed at three entrances starting July 10, state agencies said Monday.

The detectors will be in place at two street-level elevator entrances to the building and at one basement entrance. The building will remain open to the public.

The metal detectors are an “added layer of security” that will make the Capitol a safer place, the director of the state Department of Public Safety said in a statement.

House Speaker Scott Saiki said he supports the enhanced security because people “feel unsafe” in the building.

“For many years, we have received concerns not just from legislative members, but also from legislative staff and visitors to the building, about the need for more security,” the Democrat said in a brief phone interview.

Saiki credited Keith Regan, the head of the Department of Accounting and General Services, the agency that manages state buildings, for the new equipment.

He said lawmakers have appropriated money for additional security over the years but that Regan was the one “who’s finally been able to create a security program for us.”

Asked if a specific incident prompted calls for more security, Saiki said a deputy sheriff fatally shot a man near the Capitol in 2019 but that there have also been others.

In the shooting, the Department of Public Safety said the man ignored the sheriff’s directions to throw out the alcohol he was drinking and leave the Capitol grounds. The man then became physically combative and a struggle ensued, during which the deputy fired his weapon while the two were in close contact. The man died of a gunshot wound to the back.

Arekat Pacific Security, Inc., which does business as API Security, has been awarded a contract to administer the metal detectors.

State officials say 37 other state capitols already have metal detectors.

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