Maui News

MPD & Air Force Reach Agreement Atop Haleakala

March 1, 2012, 7:15 AM HST
* Updated March 1, 10:04 AM
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Haleakala summit, Maui Now file photo.

By Wendy Osher

An intergovernmental agreement between the US Air Force and the County of Maui was recommended for approval yesterday.

The proposed resolution authorizes the mayor to enter into a three-year agreement with the US Air Force for mutual aid in routine and emergency response assistance at the Maui Space Surveillance Center at the Summit of Haleakala on Maui.

“We see this as a benefit to our department,” said Acting Assistant Chief, Tivoli Faaumu, with the Maui Police Department.

Haleakala National Park, Maui Now file photo.

Faaumu said the agreement would allow the agencies to utilize shared resources not only to address daily issues, but also to benefit the county and the department in times of disaster.

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Faaumu said the Maui Police Department is also looking at training with the US Air Force to utilize resources so that the agencies can respond together in the event of a disaster.

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“This is a big benefit to our facility and allows us to basically formalize an arrangement that has already been in place,” said Lt. Col. Michael Harvey from the US Air Force also serves as the commander of the Maui Space Surveillance Complex.

“This puts in place a communications infrastructure, allows us to communicate more easily, and just formalizes our relationship and our support,” said Lt. Col. Harvey during testimony on Thursday.

The Maui Space Surveillance Center is located just north of Science City, on state property which is leased to the US Air Force from the University of Hawaii.

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The US Air Force jurisdiction is proprietary, and cases could be prosecuted at the federal level involving action within the facility.

Last year, the National Park Service responded to approximately 1,150 criminal incidents at Haleakala National Park–that is for the entire park area including Kipahulu and the summit, according to James Mar Chief Ranger at Haleakala National Park.

This included approximately 28 mutual responses to criminal incidents, an estimated 16 mutual responses to emergency medical-type incidents outside of the park, an unspecified number of cases with the MPD inside the park boundaries, and approximately 40 search-and-rescues with the Maui Fire Department.

At Science City, the number of incidents that NPS responds to was estimated at anywhere from a half-a-dozen to a dozen.

The agreement passed with eight members in support, and one member (Molokai Council Member, Danny Mateo) excused.

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