East Hawaii News

Sheriffs to Join Police in Firearms Training at PTA

April 11, 2013, 5:01 PM HST
* Updated April 12, 11:54 AM
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State sheriffs stationed on the Big Island have a new option for firearms training.

Ted Sakai, director of the state Department of Public Safety, today signed an agreement with the head of the US Army’s Pohakuloa Training Area to allow sheriffs to use the base’s firing ranges.

The Hawaii Police Department signed a similar agreement in October.

The agreement means sheriff deputies will be allowed to use the PTA facility on Saddle Road for firearm qualification, requalification and shooting practice, and classroom space.

“We understand the importance of the work of the sheriff’s office here on the Island of Hawaii and the value of training that not only keeps the deputies safe, but also all of us who live here,” said Lt. Col. Eric Shwedo, commander of US Army Garrison Pohakuloa. “This is why the decision to have the sheriff use these facilities is easy, and we are pleased that they will be here training.”

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Because there are no public shooting ranges on the Big Island, sheriffs have been using a range on a private ranch. Officials said they will continue to use that range as well as the new resources at PTA.

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“We acknowledge and support PTA and appreciate their generosity for reaching out to us,” said Lt. Pat Kawai of Public Safety’s Sheriff Division. “Establishing this relationship means we will have another training option to use.”

The Sheriff Division carries out law enforcement services statewide. Sheriff’s deputies are most prominent at the state’s courthouses where they provide security as well as handle and transport prisoners.

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