Several mistakes identified in "disheartening" escape - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Several mistakes identified in "disheartening" escape

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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Yesterday's embarrassing escape brings an apology today from authorities.  The Department of Public Safety is trying to figure out how so many mistakes could have lead to a murder suspect being on the loose for 11 hours.

The Department of Public Safety says an inmate escapes when you mix intent with opportunity.  But in this case you can also add plenty of mistakes from the guards as well.

Plenty of things went wrong when murder suspect Teddy Munet escaped from custody on his way to court.

"This is really correction 101 stuff that we have to get back to," said Ted Sakai, Department of Public Safety Director.

The inmate should have been fully shackled with a chain around his waist and cuffs around his wrists and ankles, which he wasn't.  It is already policy especially with a violent offender.

"We have identified some things that really need to be improved," said Sakai. "I have told OCCC that they have to comply with our polices on this. I told them I expect strict compliance on all of our policies on transporting inmates."

Munet should have been in a prison jumpsuit not civilian clothes since he was not going before a jury.

Also the transport van is supposed to drive into the port and the gate should be closed and locked before unloading inmates.  Instead four vans came in at once Munet's van didn't even make it into the building and guards were unloading inmates outside.

"Frankly it could be that the officers simply lost track because there were too many inmates who were taken off the van at the same time," said Sakai.

The department is investigating why there were so many mistakes.  Sakai says they have not ruled out if the escapee had any help from the inside.

Right now no guards or deputies have been punished but it could happen.

"We want see if anyone should be held accountable," said Sakai.

Sakai would also like to see a physical fitness requirement implemented so that a guard could chase a shackled inmate down if he tried to run.  A witness told HawaiiNewsNow the two guards who gave chase yesterday "looked out of shape".

"This is something I would have to work with department of Human Resources and the union," said Sakai. "It's something that is going to take awhile but something we need to take a hard look at."

Until then the director says the whole thing is disheartening.

"I feel very badly this happened. I am very relieved nobody got hurt but we did expend a lot of resources to find this guy and we did create a lot of fear in the community and our responsibility is to make sure this doesn't happen again," said Sakai.

A lot of the questions are still answered.  The Department of Public Safety is planning to have a full debriefing Monday.

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