Public safety director’s promise: ‘We intend to do a better job’ following inmates’ escape

KHON2 has been pressing the Department of Public Safety for answers about the escape of three inmates from Waiawa Correctional Facility in Waipahu on Oahu.

On Friday, the director spoke with us.

We wanted to know why wasn’t the public notified about the escape sooner.

The director says the department couldve handled the situation differently.

DPS director Nolan Espinda says the entire notification process is being reviewed.

The inmates were discovered missing Tuesday night at 9 p.m. but the public wasn’t alerted until 8 a.m. Wednesday which is 11 hours later.

“In broad strokes, notifying the public sooner rather than later is the best policy and we’re going to make sure thats the case in the future. In this particular case we obviously didn’t. We acknowledge that our position, we always have room for improvement and we intend to do a better job,” Espinda said.

Espinda believes the three men walked out of the facility because shreds of clothing were found along the fence.

“That’s really all we know factually for now. Interviewing of inmates will provide us more information,” Espinda said. “Further investigation will determine any accomplices or any security issues we need to address ourselves.”

We asked would anyone would be held accountable?

That will be determined through the investigation and we will accept any responsibility that is laid upon us,” he said.

Espinda stresses that Waiawa is a minimum security facility.

He said all three escapees were close to reaching parole.

We’re told DPS will determine if changes are needed once the investigation is complete.

“We stand by our decision to run that camp in that area, it’s a successful program,” Espinda said. “Each one of them can walk away at any opportunity. On these rare occasions, it’s our responsiblity to review to see how we can be perfect. Unfortunately we never can be perfect but we will continue to strive at any opportunity.”

Espinda said the department is vigorously following up on each and every lead to track down Brian Aquino, the third escapee who is still on the run.

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