LIHU‘E — Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, left the island Thursday, after a 10-day vacation on the North Shore.
Throughout the trip, the Kaua‘i Police Department consistently backed up Harris’s Secret Service team, according to KPD Chief Todd Raybuck.
KPD provided services both for the Vice President’s Aug. 15 arrival and the Aug. 25 departure, along with backing up her movements when necessary.
KPD Investigative Services Bureau Assistant Chief Bryson Ponce reported that, when she was on the move, officers would accompany the secret service caravan with two marked vehicles — one in the front and one behind.
KPD officers would generally stay by the vehicles in the parking lot, while the Secret Service team would shadow the vice president on foot.
Raybuck described the services as “not round the clock,” but a “substantial level” of law enforcement presence.
This support was necessary partly because of state law governing the actions of federal agents.
“The State of Hawai‘i is very interesting because Federal Law Enforcement do not have police powers,” said Raybuck at a Friday Police Commission meeting. “If a Federal Law Enforcement officer protecting the Vice President comes across a state crime, [they have] no legal authority to make that arrest.”
A person found trespassing on the property the vice president is staying at, for instance, could not be arrested by Secret Service. The KPD did not arrest anyone while supporting the security detail, Ponce said.
The KPD support was not reimbursed by the Secret Service, Raybuck reported, though it did not have a significant impact on the department.
The majority of the work was on-duty resources, during regular work hours. Ponce reported that officers did work three to four hours of overtime on certain days to assist the secret service at the location where the vice president was staying.
“The Vice President’s presence in no way impacted our ability to perform our day-to-day operations,” said Raybuck. “Our number one priority was providing consistent services to our community.”
Local law enforcement providing support for high-ranking government officials’ travel is standard practice for the Secret Service, who, according to their website “often host city, state and local law enforcement, as well as public safety officials, to jointly implement the necessary security measures.”
Harris’s trip was not highly publicized, with requests for media interviews denied.
The vacation was marked by a series of demonstrations calling on her to take more decisive action on the Red Hill water crisis, including a group of eighth graders who confronted Harris at Hanalei Bay, where KPD officers were present.
After leaks at the Navy Red Hill fuel facility on O‘ahu impacted the water supply of thousands of residents, the Pentagon announced this May that the facility would be permanently shuttered.
Activists are still calling upon the Navy to develop a clearer timeline for defueling the tanks along with increased transparency and accountability from the military.
After her Kaua‘i vacation, it’s back to work for Harris, who hopes to build support for the Democratic agenda ahead of the upcoming mid-term elections this November.
Her next stop is the Kennedy Space Center in Merrit Island, Florida, where she will attend the launch of the unmanned rocket Artemis I.
Source: The Garden Island