Is Hawaii safe in post 9/11 era? - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Is Hawaii safe in post 9/11 era?

Tom Simon Tom Simon

By Tim Sakahara - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Are we safe? It's an easy question but proving it can be tough.

Cameras, barriers and more guards, those are a few of the additions the board of water supply had added to protect our water in the post 9/11 era.

"Are we safe?"

"Of course. Yes we are. That's something we do on a continued basis it's something we've been doing all along in the past and we're going to continue to do in the future," said Erwin Kawata, Board of Water Supply Program Administrator. "We have more real time surveillance and we're watching our facilities more often and more continuously than we ever have in the past."

Public utilities are a potential target because knocking them out can cripple a community which is why safety is constantly reviewed at Hawaiian Electric Company.

"Are we safe?"

"We can't discuss any specific arrangements but we want to assure our customers that we take this very seriously and we do everything possible to make sure our facilities are secure," said Darren Pai, Hawaiian Electric Company spokesman.

Hawaii is as far as you can get in the country from New York and Washington DC.  Still last year the FBI arrested Abdel Hameed Shehadeh in Hawaii accused of lying about international terrorism. He is currently in New York awaiting trial.

"Are we safe?"

"You are as safe as you can be given the circumstances of the world right now.  The FBI is tasked right now with preventing the next terrorist attack before it happens and if you think about it, that's an awesome responsibility. The FBI for 100 years has been very good about solving crimes after they happen but we need to bring a whole new skill set to stop the crimes before they happen in the world of counter terrorism," said Tom Simon, FBI Special Agent. "As of right now at this time we don't believe there is any specific threat targeting Hawaii but we still have agents on the street making sure that we're safe."

Agent Simon says the FBI has changed more in the 10 years since 9/11 than in the 100 year history of the Bureau.  They've increased technology, created joint task forces and outreach with the community much more, particularly with local Muslims.

"We want to engage with the Muslim community here and let them know we are not some scary government boogeyman and we want to know from them if they see something weird, if they see someone blow into town who causes them concern that they can give us a call and know that one we're going to protect their identities and two we're going to treat them fairly."  

Now more than ever authorities are working together from all levels.

"Are we safe?"

"The bottom line here is we enhanced our readiness made improvements at all levels to protect the community against the threat of terrorism however because terrorism is always a threat, just in life. It's changed how we live work and play, we all need to remain vigilant and not let our guard down," said Louis Kealoha, Honolulu Police Chief.

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