LIHUE, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The union for sheriff’s deputies on Kauai claims the state is putting them and the public at risk when they transport dangerous prisoners.
The reason: Their radios are analog while all other first responders use digital radios.
The union, which has filed a grievance against the state Department of Public Safety, says the radios should have been upgraded to digital years ago so they could communicate with other first responders.
The Hawaii Government Employees Association says the current radios only have a radius of 1.3 miles from the courthouse so if there is an emergency, it would be difficult to call for help.
“If there is an escape and the public should be warned about that then very clearly, these guys should have the tools to do their jobs and protect not only themselves but the public interests as well,” said Randy Perreira, executive director of HGEA.
Kauai County upgraded to digital in February 2017, and the Kauai Police Department said they warned the other agencies that conversion from analog to digital was required.
In a statement, the Public Safety Department said the agency is “actively working on radios" for Kauai deputy sheriffs.
But the deputies say almost three years should have been plenty of time to make the changes.