The Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) has
primary responsibility for resource enforcement in the State. Hawaii
has the fourth largest coastline in the nation. There are 23,000 acres
of inland surface water, 3 million acres of state ocean waters, 410,000
acres of coral reef around the main Hawaiian Islands. We have the
largest tropical rainforest in the United States and the eleventh
largest state forest of which over one million acres are utilized
for hunting. In addition, there are 2 million acres of conservation
land and 1.2 million acres of state owned lands. At the present time,
there are --- officers throughout the State that attempt to contact,
inform, educate, and provide enforcement to the 1.2 million residents
and 6 million visitors that utilize the State’s resources on
a regular basis.
A. Summary of Program Objectives
The Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement has primary
responsibility for resource enforcement in the State. Our overall
mission is to promote the safe and responsible use of Hawaii’s
B. Description of Program Objectives
The program objectives are:
1. In partnership with others, to help lead the citizens of Hawaii in
developing and maintaining a tradition of ethical use, stewardship and
sustainability of our land and natural resources.
2. To educate and inform citizens and visitors alike of the responsible
use of Hawaii’s natural resources and the application of natural
resource laws, including Hunter Education.
3. In partnership with others, to educate the public in the safe and
responsible use of firearms, boats and personal watercraft.
4. To ensure the right of all persons to safely use, share and enjoy
Hawaii’s natural resources through firm, fair and effective law
I. Program activities can be categorized into three
1. Public Safety – the highest priority in
any law enforcement entity is the protection of life, health and property.
To this end, our program utilizes appropriate enforcement measures to
promote responsible conduct by resource users to ensure the safety of
2. Effective Resource Protection – our program
is the enforcement presence for traditional natural resource protection.
To ensure sustainability of our resources, we give priority to enforcement
of laws, rules and regulations designed to protect Hawaii’s unique
and fragile environment.
3. Preventative Enforcement Measures – public
education and community outreach efforts are ongoing activities designed
to increase the public’s awareness and foster their help and cooperation
in sustaining our natural resources.
DOCARE intends to meet its objectives through the efforts of our officers
to enforce laws related to natural resources protection and outdoor
recreation. The division will guide this effort by providing the officers
with the training, direction and support necessary to accomplish the
II. Program Performance Results
The performance results during the past two years
have met historical measurements of effectiveness. Fluctuations are
attributed to the changes in opened and closed areas, opened and closed
seasons, user impacts, and other resource related activities
The goal of the Department is to promote a life-sustaining Hawaii through
the protection of our fragile environment, its natural resource base,
and the function and viability of natural systems on which all life
depends. Hawaii must protect its ecosystem and manage its natural resources
wisely in order that a strong foundation be maintained for future prosperity.
Our program objectives reflect the Department’s mission as they
are a gauge in measuring enforcement presence and visibility, resource
protection through enforcement actions and preventive action measures
through education programs and community outreach.
Program effectiveness is primarily measured by the number of complaints,
investigations, and enforcement actions (citations, arrests, warnings)
in relation to the amount of time spent on patrol of the areas where
these violations occur. Other measures of program effectiveness include
the number of conservation education presentations, the number of hunter
education students certified, and the number of marijuana plants eradicated
from state lands.
1. Continued with implementation of computer consultant’s recommendations
including upgrading of existing electronic data processing equipment
statewide as well as purchasing of new computer hardware and related
software to build up statewide infrastructure and connectivity.
2. Completed statewide training of officers with regard to newly enacted
or amended natural resources related statutes and rules.
3. Completed statewide training of officers with regard to Division
Policy Manual which established written standards of conduct, resistance
control policy, firearms policy, OLEO resin capsicum spray policy, uniform
and equipment policy, vehicle use policy, workplace non-violence policy,
as well as Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action, Sexual
Harassment and Unlawful Harassment Policies.
4. Completed statewide recall training on the principles of justification
for the use of force in law enforcement, self-defense and use of non-deadly
5. Currently in the process of drafting a Scuba and Diving Policy and
Procedures Manual. Also, drafting a Boating Policy and Procedures Manual.
6. Began exploration of selection of a new, more practical DOCARE uniform.
7. Identified the need for officer’s to wear body armor protection
and completed selection of vendor to provide body armor with the aid
of the U.S. Department of Justice, Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant
8. Executed Cooperative Enforcement Agreement with the U.S. Department
of Commerce – National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
for the purpose of marine law enforcement.
9. Completed Joint Enforcement Agreement with National Marine Fisheries
Service to access funds for marine law enforcement.
10. Completed annual statewide preventative maintenance inspections
of the majority of the division’s land mobile telecommunications
11. Initiated statewide recall training related to the new employee
performance appraisal system and implemented this new system.
III. Problems and Issues
Some of the specific areas of concern are:
There is an ongoing perception of some of Hawaii’s resource users
that Hawaii’s unique natural resources are unlimited and can withstand
unregulated pressure. This demonstrates the need for more enforcement
in order to ensure sustainability.
Customary practices brought to Hawaii by newcomers sometimes conflict
with local laws and management efforts, creating a greater need for
enforcement and education.
Significant population increases and the creation and/or expansion of
resource areas (i.e. parks, forests, hunting, hiking trails, restricted
areas, fishing and recreational boating) designated for public use increase
the need for conservation enforcement and education. DLNR’s conservation
and resources enforcement program’s budget and manpower levels
have not kept pace with our ever increasing population, expansion of
program, and greater then ever areas of responsibility.
Increased utilization of land and water resources under the management
of the Division of Water Resource Management and Land Division require
greater involvement by DOCARE in monitoring compliance with Department
Environmental consciousness of our State’s unique natural resources
continues to rise, resulting in an increased demand on DOCARE to protect
and preserve natural areas, historic sites, refuges, unencumbered state
lands and sanctuaries.
User conflicts caused by competing interests have resulted in increased
demand for more conservation enforcement intervention.
Native Hawaiian rights and related issues play an increasing role in
DLNR’s effort to manage natural resource usage. More attention
must be given to community input and recommendations in order to foster
Current DOCARE staffing levels make it impossible to provide for adequate
coverage on a 24-hour basis. Occasionally, complaints wait 24 hours
or longer before an officer can respond to investigate the case. Limited
funding for regular and holiday overtime also diminishes our ability
to respond to resource violations at the time when our officers are
needed the most.
The issues and problems affecting the program require pro-active measures.
With limited manpower and decreased funding, DOCARE is primarily responding
in a reactive manner. This makes it difficult to protect Hawaii’s
unique natural resources and meet community expectations.
More public education from all sectors is needed to promote public awareness
and voluntary compliance with sustainable resource use restrictions.
B. Program Change Recommendations to Remedy Problems
1. Organization – initiate integrated planning and restructuring
to make efficient and effective use of all enforcement personnel and
staff. DOCARE will collect and compile monthly data and written reports
in order to examine the time and resources spent on the various functions
of the Division. By doing this, DOCARE will be able to best utilize
its limited resources both from a staffing and financial viewpoint.
2. Innovation – obtain the necessary equipment to provide immediate
access to information that will aid management and enforcement personnel
in their duties. DOCARE is working to develop a statewide networking
system that will allow the various branches to communicate via personal
3. Funding – budgetary resources must be sufficient to satisfy
current operational needs and to ensure responsiveness to emerging issues
and opportunities. This includes the need for funding for more manpower,
after hours and holiday response efforts.
4. Coordination – maintain, enhance and optimize our working relationships
with other local, state and federal agencies to address shared enforcement
concerns and responsibilities.
5. Penalties – increase the use of civil penalties through a Department
of Land and Natural Resources administrative hearing process thereby
reducing the need to process minor offenses through the criminal justice
6. Education – continue to work with community groups, resource
users and interested individuals in order to ensure voluntary compliance
with departmental conditions and restrictions.