Fatal shooting of dog at airport raises concerns about security firm

Controversy dogs airport private security firm
Published: Mar. 30, 2017 at 2:06 AM HST|Updated: Mar. 30, 2017 at 1:02 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The shooting of a family dog by a Securitas private security officer at Honolulu International Airport is another black eye for the private security company paid $35 million a year by the state, a state lawmaker said.

Last year, several Securitas employees pleaded guilty to theft for their role in the airport taxi bribery scheme. The state alleged that several security workers solicited thousands of dollars in bribes from cab drivers at the airport.

"Unfortunately there's been many cases and incidents that have raised a red flag and one wonders whether Securitas as a private contractor is the right company," said state Sen. Will Espero, whose district includes Ewa Beach.

In the past, Securitas' responsibilities were limited to security for checkpoint, fences and entry-ways, critics said.

But more recently, they said, the company's responsibilities were expanded to allow their officers to make arrests, handle medical emergencies and carry weapons. Company uniforms, which identified some workers as "airport police," reflected those expanded powers.

A lawsuit by the Hawaii Government Employees Association says having private armed guards at the airport exposes the state to legal liability. It says the state sheriffs should police the airport.

"Certainly the more important positions where life and death decisions are made and public safety is a key element, then that should be state law enforcement officials," said Espero.

The lawsuit is pending.

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