Security preparations begin for Obama family vacation - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Security delays expected at Kaneohe base during Obama's visit

KAILUA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Extra security could mean longer-than-usual delays for people who travel to Marine Corps Base Hawaii at Kaneohe while President Obama is in town.

The president and his family are expected to arrive in Kailua on Friday for the holidays.

People who live or work at the marine base are used to various security delays while the president is here, but they're being told to expect more delays this year.

The president usually spends part of every day of his Hawaii vacation at the Kaneohe Marine base playing golf there several times during his vacation and working out at the base gym nearly every morning.

And on Christmas Day, the president and first lady usually visit with marines and their families there.

So people who drive onto Marine Corps Base Hawaii are used to waiting for up to a half hour to get on base because of increased security checks while the Obamas are in town.

But sources said warnings have gone out that this year that those security checks will be more thorough because of heightened terrorist risks.

So those delays could be 45 minutes to an hour at the two security gates to the base, as more vehicles are searched, even those with military base passes and decals.

And, sources said, security levels at the Kaneohe base will be the highest they've been since just after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

People who use the base -- including hundreds of civilian employees, vendors and contractors -- are being told to plan ahead and leave early for base appointments.

"Marine Corps Base Hawaii advises those expecting to commute on and off base during this time to plan accordingly due to possible delays at base access points," said Capt. Tim Irish, a Marine base spokesman.

Meanwhile, there are no obvious signs of increased security yet on Kailuana Place in Kailua, just a few minutes from the Marine base where the president, his family and friends will spend the holidays.

"They seem to be very good in not wanting to inconvenience the neighborhood more than is necessary," said retired Honolulu Police Department Major Doug Miller, who used to oversee the police department's protection of presidents and other dignitaries and lives just a few doors down from the Obama vacation compound.

Miller said he doesn't expect the Secret Service to install security checkpoints a few steps from his house and at the entrance to Kailuana off North Kalaheo Avenue until Friday.

Miller has a dry-erase board all ready on which he and his family will write daily friendly messages to the president outside their house, such as, "Beer pong here Mr. Prez. Please bring beer and poke."

The president didn't take them up on the offer but he did invite them over for a family photo in January 2014.

Mobile users: See a slideshow of the first family in the islands over the years here.

Copyright 2015 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly