HONOLULU (KHON2) — Honolulu Prosecutor, Steve Alm, wants to hire about 15 more attorneys to help with the caseload. Currently, Alm says there are 89 deputy prosecutors on staff, but keeping them on the job is proving to be a challenge.
“We have lost five deputies this year, three to Maui, one to Kauai, and one to the Attorney General’s Office purely for monetary reasons and that’s just not acceptable,” said Steve Alm, Honolulu Prosecutor. “I don’t think the Mayor thinks it’s acceptable, and I don’t think the City Council does either.”
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Alm says the Honolulu Prosecutors Office is the least paid among the counties and state Attorney General’s office. He adds that he’s working with Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi and Managing Director to give deputies a raise. As well as raising the minimum pay from about $75,000 to more than $81,000.
“If we can get more people, I think we’d be able to do immediate charging and holding in more cases and then the other ones that take longer, those would be done faster,” Alm said.
Faster is the key word. Prosecutors have 48 hours from the time someone is arrested to file their charges. In cases like murders, armed robberies and kidnappings, prosecutors can seek immediate charges. However, cases like thefts and burglaries are handled differently and can take longer to process. In some instances, this can take longer than 48 hours, so the suspect is released from custody.
The police union says it’s frustrating for officers who make an arrest, but see the same person back on the street.
“We understand the challenges of being short staffed with the prosecutor’s office,” said Robert Cavaco, SHOPO president. “HPD deals with this every day. The longer that these criminals are not held accountable, the faster their crimes will multiply.”
While Alm says the mayor is on board with the extra funding, the City Council must also approve the budget. He’s hoping the council sees the need as the way he sees it.
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“Adding more personnel on our side, just like adding more police officers on their side, will will help everybody and make Honolulu a safer place,” said Alm. “The more we can do, the faster we can do, the better it is for everyone.”