Another violent attack at Ala Moana Beach Park. On Sunday, a teen boy was stabbed multiple times. Police arrested the suspect.
KHON2 News takes another look at safety concerns at the state’s busiest park.
We’re told there are park rangers that patrol Ala Moana Beach Park. We went to check it out ourselves but didn’t spot any while we were there.
Some park users say they do see them in golf carts. Others didn’t even know Ala Moana had such a thing, something Councilman Trevor Ozawa would like to change.
The city tells us park rangers are like an extra set of eyes. They look for illegal activity or maintenance concerns. We’re told at Ala Moana Beach Park there are three rangers, mainly there during the afternoon and evening hours.
Park rangers wear black shirts with emblems and insignia located on their shirts and vehicles, but Councilman Ozawa believes they need to be more visible.
“We need to commit more resources to it because quite frankly it’s hard to find them out there and people need to be able to see them,” Councilman Ozawa
These rangers also do not have enforcement powers, which Councilman Ozawa hopes will change.
“We want them to have some sort of enforcement power and what that may be I leave that up to the department to go ahead and figure that out,” he said.
The city tells us other security improvements have been added such as security gates and surveillance cameras outside of the bathrooms.
When we asked if the city will increase security in light of the recent assaults, a spokesman tells us there are no plans to increase the number of park rangers and there already is a significant city staff presence among park employees, lifeguards, and Honolulu Police.
Councilman Ozawa says he’s willing to support the park ranger program and beef it up if necessary.
“Just their very presence out there in the parks is a deterrent that’s more than enough, but they need to be visible and they need to be out there and actively on the ground. There is no better defense than boots on the ground,” he adds.
The city spokesman says for Ala Moana Beach Park, the three park rangers have an estimated combined annual salary of about $130,000. There are also park rangers at Kapiolani Park as well as Hanauma Bay.