By Suzanne Roig
Advertiser East Honolulu Bureau
HAWAII KAI No matter where a task force decides to put the new East Honolulu police station, someone is going to be dissatisfied.
Police have long favored the Park-and-Ride site on Keahole Street because it is near the highway and has enough space to accommodate a full-fledged station.
But some residents of the district fear that a station in Hawaii Kai is not centralized enough and means that officers would spend a lot of time commuting to and from the station before going out to their beat areas.
"Why locate it there at the far end of the district where the only access is on Kalanianaole Highway?" said Leonard Tam, a member of the Kaimuki Neighborhood Board. "I think we need something more central. Thats more logical."
Currently, the district operates out of the main police station downtown. East Honolulu is the only district without a station in its coverage area.
A task force comprising members of neighborhood boards, city officials and police has been meeting for months to find a suitable location for all the communities in the district, which spans from Makapuu to Manoa.
Last night, by a show of hands, a majority of the group favored the Hawaii Kai site. The recommendation will be forwarded to Mayor Jeremy Harris. If the mayor accepts it, the City Council will budget $500,000 for the design of the police station, said Councilman John Henry Felix.
The station is expected to cost $5 million.
"Weve looked at all the sites, and this was the most viable," Felix said.
Police favor the Hawaii Kai site because its close to Kalanianaole Highway and its not near any homes, said Police Capt. Scott Foster.
The other site that was considered is the former National Guard Armory on 22nd Avenue.
The main problem with that site is that its in the Diamond Head Special District, which restricts building. The city would have to negotiate a lease on the land with the state and the existing buildings would have to be torn down, Foster said.
The city owns the land by Hawaii Kais Park-and-Ride, he said.
"Thats the most feasible and practical for our purposes," Foster said. "Its unfortunate that we have to have a station at one end of the district or the other."
The only time officers will be coming in and out of Hawaii Kai is at major watch changes, 9 a.m. and 9 p.m., Foster said.
But only some officers come into the station; others remain on the road in their area of coverage until the next shift comes on, he said.
Police say they need a station in the district to house 279 officers and support personnel in three shifts.
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