KAILUA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - As hundreds of Hawaii law enforcement officer take part in President Obama's security detail on Christmas and New Year's Day, one state agency will be conspicuously absent.
Hawaii News Now has learned that the Department of Land and Natural Resources has pulled back its enforcement officers for those two key dates because it does not want to pay for overtime.
"There is no need to schedule POTUS support on these days as there will be no reimbursement," DLNR's acting enforcement chief Jason Redulla wrote in an email to senior managers.
"Therefore do not stand up POTUS support on Christmas and New Year's Day."
State Sen. Will Espero, chair of the Senate Public Safety Committee and Senate Vice President, said he is urging Gov. David Ige to reverse the decision.
"I believe that decision by a management individual was the wrong decision and I'd like to hope that somebody higher up above him will overturn that decision."
The DLNR typically provides maritime protection and safety services for the president and his group when they stay at this Kailua beachfront home, often patrolling the waters in boats and jet skis.
The move does not affect the hundreds of Honolulu police and other law enforcement agencies that will be in force during the presidential stay. One longtime DLNR critic says the decision is wrong.
"This situation reeks of the inability of setting priorities and place the importance that this situation would deserve," said environmental activist Carroll Cox.
A DLNR spokeswoman declined comment.