Special-duty officers look to thwart potential trespassers on Haiku Stairs

It’s a popular but illegal trail in Windward Oahu that’s been closed for more than 30 years.

That hasn’t stopped the hoards of illegal hikers that come by every day.

Despite fences, a security guard and warning signs, people continue to break the law by hiking the Haiku Stairs also known as the Stairway to Heaven.

Sneaking in is about to get more difficult.

The stairs’ owner, the Board of Water Supply is stepping up security.

For the last few years, just about every morning, Ken Rose says his family’s day starts similar to this. “This morning at 3:30 and pulls up turns around and does his back-and-forth turning with his light shining this way and you have all the slamming doors.”

Rose’s family has lived next to the entrance to Board of Water Supply property for six years. Starting soon in this Kaneohe neighborhood, according to BWS Spokesperson Kathleen Pahinui, HPD will be on hand ready to issue citations to anyone trying to get to the Haiku stairs. “We have some special duty Honolulu Police Department officers who are going to be coming out and going to the various points that we know where people are trespassing to get access to the stairs.”

The special duty officer will be patrolling the neighborhood at random, at a cost of $40 per hour.So will this cost be passed on to Board of water supply customers? Pahinui says no, “No absolutely not. It’s part of our budget we do have contingency budget for these kinds of things and that’s what we are tapping into.”

Dr. Vernon Ansdell, president of the Friends of Haiku stairs, says he’s aware of rising tensions between hikers and residents, “I’m surprised they haven’t done this before it’s sort of long overdue to have an effective security plan in place, at the moment it’s really not effective at all.”

Ansdell says he still supports a plan that would allow paid access to the stairs, but while it is still illegal, says he understands the need for more security, “I think once the word gets out that you’re going to get caught, you’re going to get cited, and you’re going to get a $1000 fine then people will be will not be trying to sneak in there in the middle of the night.”

Ken Rose says while more security is a good thing, he believes there’s only one way to keep people from attempting the hike.” The ultimate deterrent is tearing down the stairs, hopefully this will be an interim deterrent to stop all the trespassing that goes on here every morning.”

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