Bill would target officers who drink and carry weapons - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Bill would target off duty officers who drink and carry weapons

Sen. Will Espero Sen. Will Espero
Peter Carlisle Peter Carlisle
Tenari Maafala Tenari Maafala
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

"The smart law enforcement officer who's carrying a gun shouldn't be drinking period," Sen. Will Espero said.

He plans to write that into a bill next session. The idea for legislation comes after speculation that Christopher Deedy was drunk when he shot Kollin Elderts.

Espero wants it illegal for off-duty law enforcers to carry a gun when they drink alcohol.

Former prosecutor Peter Carlisle agrees. "I certainly include police officers. Police officers are required to be armed all the time, but the fact of the matter is they should not have any alcohol in their system when they're making decisions about pulling a gun and using it," he said.

Under Espero's plan sheriffs, harbor police and all county cops would have to leave their guns behind when they party.

SHOPO president Tenari Maafala fears that would handcuff officers who are sworn to protect the public at all times. "Do you really want a law enforcement officer who had just had one drink or two to act or not act on your behalf?

Officers can get fired for not taking action whether they're sober or not," he said.

"I'd hate to have your friend or your family member be on the opposite side of that gun that law enforcement officer might have after he has been drinking three or four or five beers, or whatever the case may be," Espero said.

The Department of Public Safety's internal policy prohibits personnel from packing a gun after having consumed alcohol or drugs.

Honolulu police officers can carry their firearms but are advised to use discretion. Maafala said that seems to be sufficient. He calls Espero's idea a "knee jerk" reaction for politics sake.

"You're talking about changing the law that could ultimately impact everybody," he said.

Harvey Gerwig, president of the Hawaii Rifle Association, believes internal oversight is better than a law. "What I do think we need is the Police Commission and the police chief and perhaps SHOPO to get together and create administrative rules that directly address that," he said.

Espero believes more is needed.

"This is a discussion that lawmakers should he having. This is a discussion that law enforcement should be having themselves," he said.

Espero said a law could stipulate punishments be administered through an organization's policies.


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