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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Obama visit costly for HPD

By Dan Nakaso
Advertiser Staff Writer

The Honolulu Police Department spent $248,000 in overtime costs to help protect President Obama and his family during their recent 10-day O'ahu vacation more than twice as much as when Obama visited in 2008 as president-elect.

In 2008, HPD spent $107,000 in officer overtime costs for the first family's vacation. For the Obamas' most recent stay, Dec. 24 to Jan. 3, HPD's tab was $248,000.

"It requires a different response level when he's president versus when he's president-elect," HPD Capt. Letha DeCaires said.

Residents along Kailuana Place in Kailua, in particular, saw a noticeable increase in security during the Obamas' last visit compared to the 2008 trip. During the latest stay, Honolulu police officers and Secret Service agents restricted access 24 hours a day to residents and their guests as a stream of federal, state and local law enforcement secured their neighborhood.

Police officers who received overtime pay for helping to protect the first family came from the Patrol, Traffic and Specialized Services Divisions, DeCaires said.

She declined to specify how many officers were deployed for the presidential detail.

Motorcycle and patrol officers were the most visible HPD presence.

They drove ahead of the presidential motorcade to block traffic as it made daily trips to Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kāne'ohe where Obama worked out, and as the motorcade traveled across O'ahu.

The president and his friends frequently took golf outings. Obama and his family also visited a high school friend on the North Shore and enjoyed private visits to popular tourist attractions such as Sea Life Park, the Honolulu Zoo and Hanauma Bay.

The Coast Guard also set up a security zone for Kailua Bay around the first family's beachfront rental home. Teams of Coast Guardsmen in semi-rigid boats also constantly patrolled the ocean and Kawainui Canal near the vacation home.