FBI groundbreaking, plus plans to secure Hawaii at APEC - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

FBI groundbreaking, plus plans to secure Hawaii at APEC

Frank Montoya Frank Montoya

By Teri Okita – bio | email

KAPOLEI (HawaiiNewsNow) – It's a big year ahead for the Honolulu office of the FBI. The regional headquarters of Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, and Saipan is responsible for much of the national security during November's APEC summit in Honolulu, and come this time next year, FBI agents and staff will be getting ready to move into their new digs in Kapolei.

You'll have to envision a 10 acre expanse with 155 thousand square feet of office space and parking - where a dirty dustbowl sits right now. The new building will reflect the Honolulu FBI office's growing responsibility in both criminal cases and national security, especially counter-terrorism.

"We're not far from Indonesia. We're not far from the Philippines. We're not far from some of the other islands in the south pacific, western pacific, where there are some very bona fide threats to, not just the United States national security, but to the well-being of people in those countries", explains Frank Montoya, FBI special agent-in-charge of the Honolulu division.

The Honolulu office is also preparing many levels of security for the APEC - which will bring dozens of diplomats and world leaders, including President Barack Obama, to Hawaii.

"We don't know of any literal or real or emerging threats that could cause harm to the event," says Montoya, "but at the same time, we want to be vigilant. We want to make sure that if something like that were to emerge, that we're able to take care of it before it became a problem."

Next August, 235 FBI agents and support staff are scheduled to pack up and move from downtown Honolulu to Kapolei Barber's Point. The developer says they'll have a third more room. "They do put the insides of their building together in order to foster communication and flexibility because of their changing missions and so, we usually think about that while we're designing it," says Chris Penrose, from Penrose/Walsh developers.

It won't be a federal building, though. The FBI will the rent the private space for $8.2 million a year, but it will still have deep layers of security.

The FBI plans to keep a small space downtown to house evidence or to do trial work, but for the most part, all operations will be out in Kapolei. Once the FBI leaves the federal building, those offices will be renovated and upgraded for the new tenant.

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