Police dedicate new East Hawaii Detention Facility 05-02-03

PHONE: 961-2244
MAY 2, 2003

Untying Maile Lei
UNTYING MAILE LEI-Police Commission Chairman Horace Hara, above left, Police Chief Lawrence Mahuna, County Managing Director Dixie Kaetsu, and police chaplains Earl Ikeda and Theodore Lesnett help untie the maile lei during dedication ceremonies at the new East Hawaii Detention Facility in Hilo. Below, Chief Mahuna addresses a small crowd attending the ceremonies.
Chief Lawrence Mahuna


The Hawaii County Police Department dedicated its new East Hawaii Detention Facility during ceremonies Friday (May 2, 2003) on the grounds of the Public Safety Complex in Hilo.

Police Chief Lawrence K. Mahuna noted that the new $4.3 million facility will give the police department in Hilo enough room to hold pre-arraignment detainees adequately for the first time since the state made the counties responsible for holding detainees in 1994.

Mahuna noted that the current holding facilities at the Hilo police department contain only five holding cells. The new facility has 20 holding cells; two holding tanks, one each for men and women; an observation cell; and a padded cell. In addition, the new cellblock contains state-of-the-art remote control of cellblocks and surveillance equipment.

Mahuna thanked both government agencies and private companies who made construction of the cellblock possible. They include the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the County Office of Housing and Community Development for grant money, Oda McCarty Architects for designing the cellblock and Constructors Hawaii Inc. for the actual construction.

Dixie Kaetsu, county managing director, noted that after the counties were given the responsibility to hold pre-arraignment detainees in 1994, it quickly became evident that Hawaii County had inadequate facilities to house them.

To remedy the problem, the county began planning for a new cellblock facility in 1999, she said.

Also speaking to a small group of about 75 people attending the event were the Rev. Earl Ikeda of the Puna Hongwanji Mission and the Dr. Theodore Lesnett of the Honokaa United Methodist Church, both police chaplains, and Assistant Chief Charles M. Chai.

Taking part in the traditional untying of the maile lei were Police Commission Chairman Horace Hara, Chief Mahuna, Managing Director Kaetsu and the Rev. Ikeda and Dr. Lesnett.

Attendees were then given a tour of the new facility and enjoyed refreshments.

There is still some equipment to install in the new facility before detainees can be housed there, according to Assistant Chief Chai. Once the equipment is installed, he said, the cellblock should be ready for occupancy in about two weeks.

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