UH-Manoa makes much-needed improvements to campus security

A broken call box at University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Since KHON2’s Always Investigating uncovered serious security problems at the University of Hawaii, much-needed improvements have been made.

In February, KHON2 found problems with many emergency phones throughout UH-Manoa’s campus last month. Most of the call boxes on campus were the old style and many weren’t working. Even the new emergency call boxes with high-tech cameras had a major flaw — the cameras wouldn’t record.

Fast forward a few weeks and there’s good news from campus security.

“As we sit here today, of the 74 emergency call on campus, 71 of them are functioning as they need to,” said UH campus security chief Charles Noffsinger. “There are three that are currently out of service. They are what we refer to as ‘bagged and tagged for service’ and just waiting on parts and replacement units.”

Noffsinger says work orders for the phones have all been submitted.

The repairs make a big difference for places that can get dark and creepy at night. As for the cameras, they’re on the way to getting more recorders attached to them throughout campus.

“They are in the process of being connected to our communication center even as we speak,” Noffsinger said. “We recently had meetings with the vendor and the folks over at ITS and hopefully in a very short period of time, those connections can be made.”

One of the problems KHON2 found was that broken things were documented on monthly walk-throughs, but the right people weren’t asked to come fix them.

When asked what the university is doing to make sure procedures are tightened up so repairs are done quicker, Noffsinger said, “being attentive to our normal checks and balances and following up on the information we have with our partners here on campus to make sure the technology we do have is up and running as intended.”

But technology and phones are just part of keeping the campus safe. About a month ago, staffing was about 10 percent or more down. Now, “(potential hires) are continuing through the background phase and we hope to have them on board soon,” Noffsinger said. “We hope to bring on an additional five. That’s a big deal for us.”

Longer-term changes are still in the works, like more cameras in more places including elevators.

The university is also continuing to explore ways campus security could become campus police instead.

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