Oahu’s recent rash of violent crimes has grabbed the attention of the top law enforcement officer in the state.
U.S. Attorney Kenji Price says he’s ready to use whatever federal resources are needed to fix the problem.
Price says the feds are ready to help catch the criminals, prosecute them, and keep them locked up to the full extent of the law.
Violent crimes on Oahu have made headlines nearly every day in recent weeks. They’ve rattled the nerves of residents, and Hawaii’s U.S. attorney says he’s troubled by the seriousness and frequency of these crimes.
“Whatever is causing this wave of recent violence, we want to attack that problem, and we want to attack it in the most impactful way that we can,” said Price.
He says he’s had detailed communications with HPD Chief Susan Ballard about working together. He says U.S. Marshals can work with police to capture the criminals. And federal laws can be applied to many of the recent crimes, especially if they involve weapons.
“There’s a federal carjacking statute that allows us to intervene in some cases, or maybe intervene is the wrong term, but it allows us to prosecute some carjacking cases,” said Price.
The head of the police officers’ union, SHOPO, says working with the federal government will be effective in sending criminals a strong statement.
“Any time you mention federal involvement, you get a lot of results because they know, state time, probably a slap on the wrist. But you tell them this is federal, now you do your whole time,” said SHOPO President Malcolm Lutu.
There is no parole from federal prison. The feds also helped clean up crime in the 90’s when Japanese tourists were being targeted. And Lutu says it was effective. Price says he also wants to work with the prosecutor’s office to make sure that stiffer laws are applied.
“And I can tell you, oftentimes, in the federal system there are significant consequences associated with committing these crimes once a defendant is convicted,” said Price.
Price says he plans to release more details on what the federal government plans to do in a news conference next week Tuesday.