Should Hawaii schools have own police force?

Should Hawaii schools have its own police force?

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii still hasn't had an active shooter situation on a campus, although yesterday's incident at Roosevelt High School between Honolulu Police and a teen with a knife did trigger the same type of lockdown.

The Hawaii school district is the ninth largest in the country, yet one of the few of that size without its own police force.  The main reason is money.

"We would have to take a look at a number of reasons why we could justify that cost," said Donalyn Dela Cruz, Hawaii Department of Education Communications Director.

The DOE also says it has an excellent partnership with the Honolulu Police Department and doesn't need to have uniformed officers on campus.  But they do practice for emergencies.  The last lockdown drill at Roosevelt High School was September 19 and an evacuation drill was done November 14.

"Yesterday was not an active shooter incident however the drill that was in place, the lockdown that was an active exercise that went into full effect," said Dela Cruz.

Roosevelt has four security attendants on campus.  It's up to each individual school to budget for security staff depending on the need.

"The principal will then take a look at his or her school community or environment because all of the campuses are different," said Dela Cruz.

No schools in the state use metal detectors or cameras and yesterday's incident didn't change the DOE's perspective on adding those features.

"I don't think metal detectors equates to whether or not your school is safe. What we need to do is just reinforce the fact of our safety issues, making sure our kids know what's right from wrong, making sure our staff knows what to do if a crisis situation occurs," said Dela Cruz.

Maui and Kauai high schools do pay for uniformed police officers to be on campus.  And there are officers at all middle schools on the Big Island.  There are no plans to put officers at any Oahu schools.

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