HPD releases some of its APEC security strategy

By Teri Okita – bio | email

WAIPAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Honolulu Police will take over Ala Moana beach park for one full week during the APEC meetings, and there will no public parking at all. No driving either. If you want to use the beach, you'll have to walk in.

"That will be our base camp. That will be where our officers will respond, get their briefings, check-in, get whatever equipment they need, supplies, and from there, they'll move out to their staging areas," says HPD's APEC liaison, Maj. Clayton Kau.

But the base camp at Ala Moana park is just a portion of HPD's safety plan for APEC. The department displayed some of the layers of police presence we can expect to see the week of November 7th through 13th.

Honolulu police may be the only department in the nation to issue aloha wear as part of its official uniform. A few dozen officers from the civil affairs unit - armed and wearing full protective gear underneath their aloha shirts - will interact with demonstrators at APEC rallies and protests.

"It's a lot different than a police officer standing in his uniform and his hat, exposing a firearm," says Capt. Keith Lima from the civil affairs unit.

Bike cops are also attempting to look non-threatening and approachable in bright yellow shirts created just for APEC. They'll be working in teams of ten. Squad leaders will have cameras mounted to their helmets.

"(They'll be) available to answer questions, assist groups that want to exercise their first amendment rights or respond, assess, anything that could happen during the APEC event," says Maj. Kurt Kendro from the mountain bike unit.

A more formidable team will be on standby dressed in what amounts to riot gear. HPD formed a special crowd management unit just for APEC, and it's considered a last resort. They'll be equipped with ballistic vests, a protective armor, gloves helmets, leg guards, and weapons – both lethal and non-lethal. Full tactical gear is about 35 to 40 pounds. It's heavy, and it's hot.

Maj. Robert Green from the crowd management unit says, "These officers, they'll be available, but hopefully, you'll never get to see them. These officers are nearby, but you don't see them."

HPD says demonstrators will be allowed everywhere, except three exclusionary zones around the Hale Koa hotel, the Ihilani resort, and the convention center. If Honolulu police arrest anyone during APEC leaders week, those arrested will be processed at the Kapolei police station instead of HPD's Alapai headquarters. The headquarters will be HPD's command center for APEC.

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