Update public on airport security

Source: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 23 June 2017 

Last summer the state awarded Securitas a three-year, $130 million contract for security at all Hawaii airports. …The Hawaii Government Employees Association, meanwhile, is questioning whether private security guards are qualified or legally authorized to have police powers. The union contends that, over the years, the DOT has allowed Securitas to expand its role. …


State says it ‘didn’t’ fire deputy sheriffs at airport, but wants to re-examine duties
Source: Hawaii News Now, June 20, 2017
The state Transportation Department did confirm that it had given the Public Safety Department a 180-day notice of its intent to terminate an agreement to station 57 deputy sheriffs at the airport.  But Fuchigami said he wants to work out a new agreement that gives deputy sheriffs new duties and better coordinates security operations at the airport. … Despite reassurances that the sheriff’s department will remain part of the airport’s security detail the sheriff’s union believes this shake up is an attempt to drive it’s deputies out.   “That is our biggest concern that this is just another step toward privatizing law enforcement at the airport and that is something we violently object to,” said Randy Perreira, HGEA Executive Director.

Lawmaker demands answers after state boots deputy sheriffs from Honolulu airport patrols
Source: Manolo Morales, KHON, June 19, 2017

Major changes are in the works at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport with regards to security. The Hawaii Department of Transportation sent a letter to the Department of Public Safety to say deputy sheriffs will no longer be patrolling the airport. The Department of Public Safety tells us it has 57 deputy sheriffs and two civilians working at Honolulu’s airport. … Deputy sheriffs belong to the Hawaii Government Employees Association. The union filed a lawsuit against the state last year because it allowed Securitas to take over some of the law enforcement duties at all of Hawaii’s airports. We asked about this latest issue, and received the following statement from Randy Perreira, HGEA executive director: “HGEA is aware of the letter from the State Department of Transportation to the Department of Public Safety regarding termination of services of State Sheriffs at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport. We are working to get more information regarding this issue.

911 calls released as attorney general opens investigation into shooting death of dog
Source: Manolo Morales, KHON, March 31, 2017
KHON2 has obtained 911 calls made shortly after a dog was shot and killed at Honolulu International Airport Tuesday night. An officer working for Securitas shot and killed the dog after it got loose while the family was loading luggage into their car. … In addition to the Hawaiian Humane Society, we’re learning that the state attorney general is now investigating the incident. … HGEA, the union that represents deputy sheriffs, says the shooting is just another example of why it’s a bad idea to have a private company like Securitas provide armed law enforcement officers known as airport police.  HGEA filed a lawsuit last year against the state for allowing this to happen, which is still pending. …

Private airport security firm faces scrutiny for hiring fired officers
Source: Lynn Kawano, Hawaii News Now, March 30, 2017
At least six law enforcement officers who were fired were then subsequently hired by a private security firm at Honolulu International Airport in recent years, Hawaii News Now sources say. Securitas gets paid $36 million a year  by the state, and provides “airport police” and other security services at the airport.  In recent years, they’ve been at the center of several high-profile incidents. Most recently, a Securitas officer fatally shot at family’s dog at Honolulu International, and the dog’s family said the guard “overreacted” and discharged his weapon near an infant and other bystanders. … Espero believes state deputy sheriffs should be the only gun-carrying law enforcement officers at the airport.  Randy Perreira, executive director of HGEA — the union for state employees — agrees.  HGEA is suing the Department of Transportation over the use of private security at the airport. … Espero said it would result in better oversight if the private security guards are kept out of the policing aspect of the airport. …

Policing of Hawaii Airport Triggers Lawsuit
Source: Nicholas Fillmore, Courthouse News Service, July 14, 2016

A labor union of Hawaii government employees sued the state’s governor and airport chiefs, claiming that police functions at Honolulu International Airport are being usurped by private contractor Securitas. Hawaii Government Employees Association AFSCME Local 152 sued Gov. David Ige, Director of Transportation Ford Fuchigami and Deputy Director of Airports Ross Higachi on behalf of the airport sheriff detail in state court on July 12. First hired by the State Department of Transportation in 2008 to keep traffic moving after a TSA agent was assaulted in a drop-off lane outside the airport, Securitas’ role has expanded over time, according to the complaint. Some Securitas personnel carry guns and make arrests, and are designated by DOT-Oahu to be the first responders in the event of security breaches, medical and other emergencies. Additionally, the security guards issue traffic tickets, question witnesses and subjects, and generate criminal reports while wearing uniforms and driving vehicles similar in appearance to the real police, the complaint says. … Hawaii’s Department of Transportation violates merit principles as defined by the state constitution, the union says. “The Hawaii State Constitution provides: ‘The employment of persons in the civil service shall be governed by the merit principle,'” the union says in its complaint. “In Konno v. County of Hawaii, the Hawaii Supreme Court held that the contracting out or privatization of services which have historically and customarily been performed by civil servants violates the constitutionally protected merit principle. “The law enforcement and policing services performed by the Securitas personnel at HIA have historically and customarily been performed by civil servants under the merit system.” According to the union, efforts to discuss the state’s expansion of Securitas’ law enforcement role at the airport have been fruitless. Securitas is not a party to the union’s lawsuit, and did not respond to requests for comment. …

HGEA files lawsuit to stop privatization of airport security
Source: KHON, July 13, 2016

The state’s largest public workers union has filed a lawsuit against the Hawaii Department of Transportation to keep it from using private security to perform law enforcement and policing services at Honolulu International Airport. The state recently awarded Securitas a three-year, $130 million contract for security at all Hawaii airports. The Hawaii Government Employees Association believes security should be handled by the state Department of Public Safety’s Sheriffs Division. … The complaint says contracted security personnel initially wore uniforms identifying them as “Airport Security” and their services were intended to be limited to checkpoint, fence, and entry-way security, and to ensuring that vehicles did not park at drop-off and pickup locations. Over time, the complaint says, the state expanded the roles of some contracted security personnel to include: carrying weapons and making arrests; conducting traffic stops; being designated first responders to security breaches, medical emergencies, and other unsafe or potentially criminal situations. Some security personnel now wear badges and uniforms similar to the Honolulu Police Department uniform and use police-package style vehicles instead of security-type vehicles, HGEA says. …

View the Complaint.

Suit: Private security guards illegally acting as ‘airport police’
Source: Rick Daysog, Hawaii News Now, July 14, 2016

A new lawsuit by the union representing state deputy sheriffs wants to put a hold on the state’s $35 million-a-year airport private security contract. The suit by the Hawaii Government Employees Association alleges that the state greatly expanded the duties of its private security guards at the airports, creating safety issues that potentially compromise criminal cases and exposing the state to lawsuits. … The private security guards all work for Securitas, which has the $35 million a year contract with the state. In the past, their duties were limited to security for checkpoints, fences and entry-ways. But the suit says those powers have been broadened to allow private security guards to carry weapons, make arrests and handle medical emergencies. …