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Department of Public Safety to split into law enforcement and corrections divisions

Oʻahu Community Correctional Center
Ku'uwehi Hiraishi
Oʻahu Community Correctional Center

The state Department of Public Safety will bifurcate, with some operations transferring into a newly established Department of Law Enforcement.

Public Safety will be renamed the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Gov. David Ige signed House Bill 2171 on Friday, which will see the bulk of changes by January 2024.

The Department of Law Enforcement will facilitate the patrol arms of state divisions, centralizing enforcement functions within the state’s sheriff's division, Office of the Attorney General and Department of Transportation.

Ige said this change will "align the very important missions of corrections and law enforcement into their own agencies so we can move forward aggressively in both areas."

"By establishing a separate Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations, we will, as a state, be able to give more attention and focus to both missions," Ige said.

According to the bill, the new department will partner with the federal Joint Terrorism Task Force, and will focus on eliminating narcotics and gun violence within the state.

The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation will now focus on patrol and reentry of incarcerated individuals.

"Once the conversion of Public Safety to the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is complete, the department will be able to focus on a single mission to administer the corrections, rehabilitation, and reentry of the inmate population," PSD Director Max Otani said.

Sabrina Bodon was Hawaiʻi Public Radio's government reporter.
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