HPD stands by its scanner access ban, but launches new online system with dispatch details

Honolulu police have launched an online system for viewing dispatch logs.
Published: Nov. 9, 2022 at 5:38 PM HST|Updated: Nov. 9, 2022 at 5:44 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu police have launched an online system for viewing dispatch logs.

It is an alternative to scanners, which were encrypted earlier this year. HPD is denying access to those scanners for the media and the public, so the web-based dispatch system, CADS, is what they’re providing instead.

“I think it’s absolutely a compromise,” said HPD Chief Joe Logan, who said providing scanners to anyone puts his officers and investigations at risk.

Mayor Rick Blangiardi added that there are privacy issues with the devices.

But when the scanners went offline, listeners could no longer learn ― in real time ― as major events were occurring. HPD tried using an email system to notify the media of calls that impact the public, but that failed when the information was either delayed by hours or simply did not go out to the news outlets.

Examples of this include the deadly attack of a woman right outside the police station in Kapolei in February.

Another incident happened in August. The media was not notified of a days-long manhunt for a gunman accused of killing a pregnant woman at a bus stop in Chinatown.

Traffic accidents that blocked major roads during rush hour also happened without any communication.

Logan acknowledged these missteps and said the new CADS online is the alternative. The section is found on the HPD website through the “info and resources” tab.

You can access it quickly by clicking here.

The site lists a basic description of calls that officers are working on.

But there is a delay of 15 minutes, so it is not in real time.

Logan said this will give residents an idea of what is happening in the community.

“They want to know if an accident is going to block them from going home in traffic, they want to know, you know, why is that siren, that police car going down my street with blue lights and sirens,” he said.

Blangiardi also called it a compromise “so everybody feels like the police are doing their job, the media is doing their job and we’re protecting the public on every level.”

At a sit-down meeting Wednesday, representatives from Hawaii News Now and the Star Advertiser told the mayor and police chief that scanner access is still preferred and reiterated an agreement between the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and news outlets.

Police there contract with each agency, which can result in the removal of the devices if the agency breaks the rules.

Logan said Las Vegas was the exception and that most police departments nationwide are denying scanner access.

All sides agreed to meet again in three months to evaluate the new system to determine if it is enough to alert the community of major incidents.