POSTED: 5 APRIL 2008 - 3:00pm HST

Protect and Serve - Let's Roll!

image above: Graphic for ABC-TV show "Pacific Blue" on the air from 1996-2000.

By Jonathan Jay on 4 April 2008

What the KPD needs to provide better service to the the community of Kaua`i is bitchen bikes and cycle gear, not bludgeon batons and riot gear. The militarization of the KPD must be strongly opposed in the most constructive, broad and sustained manner possible. On the tiny island of Kaua`i, we all have a stake in this.

Militarization of the local police
This is one of those issues that cuts across the specifics of many other issues. If you think this does not apply to you - you are terribly wrong. Beefing up the coercive power of the police is based on fear, and makes us all less free. Critically, this takes peaceful people power off the table. In a democratic Kaua`i - this is unacceptable.

The specter of 'mob rule.'
Although referred to as a justification for riot gear purchases by the new chief, there was no riot; there were no mobs. The Superferry protests were just that "protests." Last time i checked, the 'right to peaceably assembly to redress grievances' was still in the Constitution (I'd like to see that remain, and so I keep checking). The citizens of Kaua`i who went down to the public docks to greet the ferry last summer were remarkably self-organized and peaceful. The situation was tense, but at the end of the day, everyone had their say, and fear did not rule the day. This is what democracy looks like.

Nobody is Perfect
Although the protests were peaceful, there could have been more aloha. Initially, the KPD was mostly restrained and largely professional, appropriately controlling the situation by allowing citizens to expressed our constitutionally protected rights Unfortunately, by the evening of day one (Sunday), there were some needless chemical attacks by tired twitchy cops. These officers should probably have been relieved earlier, and clearly need better training. It is never OK assault citizens.

Something Lingle this way Chums
On day two (Monday), a stressed and harried KPD made to look incompetent by sensationalist Oahu tele-media repeatedly playing un-contexted snippets of video ad nauseum, made more than a dozen needless arrests. Harried by whom? For this we can actually blame our incompetent governor for her extra-constitutional top-down meddling on a leaderless county agency. Chumming the waters of Nawiliwili to bend to the political will of her clients, the SuperFerry. Just ask your friends on the force and in the the Coast Guard if see leaned on them as well. Politically motivated arrests like these may be OK in a banana republic, but not in a democratic Kaua`i.

These empty arrests were unwarranted intrusions into the lives of brave Kaua`ians whose only crime was protecting the `aina and upholding state law. The burden Lingle's meddling placed on the local judicial system was without merit. All charges were eventually dropped - not a good use of tax payer money.

Bad Governor = Bad government
Clearly, improved procedure and training that assist our new Police Chief to better protect and serve the citizens of Kaua`i would be helpful. More frank, honest and open discussions with the community before hand (such as did occur after the Superferry gatherings in Nawiliwili) is a much better move for the entire community than purchasing new weapons and new body armor.

When the new Chief calls for greater transparency for the KPD, surely he does not mean plexi-glass riot shields. What our cops really need is some shorts, and pragmatic way to lock up their guns. This is ain't the wild west, this is Kaua`i.

Who's Cops?
Chief Perry says: “Hold me accountable, hold us accountable, but give us the tools to do the job.” Fair enough - which job? Large-scale citizen coercion towards a political end is the essence of the 'the job' of the Police State. This is not the job of the Kaua`i Police Department - where's the aloha?

Whether you care about the super ferry, the trees in koloa, GMO experiments on Kalo, or just walking your dog on the coast path, or this affects all of us, and will have a chilling effect on our tropical home.

Please give ways and means to achieve the critical goal of stopping the harmful militarization of the KPD your deep consideration. Let us convene our thoughts to address and resolve this terrible threat to our island aloha. We all have a stake in this - lets' do it together.

An oxymoron: Policing Paradise
by Juan Wilson 4 April 2008

I have issues with the TGI article on April 5th titled "Police budget discussion touches on riot gear". We don't have riots.

When the U.S. Government uses tax dollars to fund projects like education and transportation they come with conditions. In the case of schools, it means that states that accept funds must go along with distasteful programs like "No Child Left Behind" and turning over personal information about their students to military recruiters.

In the case of funding for transportation, it results in promoting the expansion of interstate highways for gas guzzlers at the expense of alternatives like rail; and the commitment to the civilian ships for military use, as in the case of the Superferry's obligation to the navy as part of the Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement.

This kind of coercion certainly extends to the funding of police departments. When the Department of Homeland Security extends its generosity to police in the way of SWAT equipment, special weapons, riot gear, and training, there is a catch. There is influence and leverage on the police department. Just remember how the KPD stood against the interest of Kauai when the Unified Command (the outfit run by Homeland Security, and Lingle) took over providing security for the Superferry. They used our mayor and police force as a front line force against the people defending our island from an invasion.

The strategy of the Kauai Police Department (KPD) should be to act like they live in paradise and not some militarized police state. Unfortunately, that means staying away from offers of help from the government of the United States. Kauai Police Chief Darryl Perry may want a bunch of new expensive toys. I say let him have some. For gadgets I suggest, off-road bicycles with GPS systems, golf carts with built in LCD screens, and iPhones on a free WiFi network.

Given that we are on an isolated island that is pretty close to being paradise, I don't think our police should carry loaded guns or even tasers. For those officers who feel insecure on duty without lethal force available nearby, I suggest locking that stuff in the trunk of the patrol car. Certainly, the brave men and women of the KPD are not afraid to be without loaded guns on their hips as sit with coffee or have lunch with us. I think they would get more respect and cooperation that way. Heck, we're not wearing guns.

Many saw the wild-wild-west as a place where justice came only from the muzzle of a gun. Some may still think this is still needed in the urban jungles of the mainland. We can do much better here. We have a healthy and friendly community. Maybe we could call our police "peace-keepers" and mean it. The spirit of aloha would be greatly enhanced if it were known that Kauai did not need a paramilitary police to keep the lid on things.

For over a century Britain has used the English Bobby to patrol the streets of London and other cities - without guns. These are the police who go face-to-face with the public. The Bobbys are famous throughout the world. They carry assertive authority without carrying a loaded firearm. This aspect of the English police system came from an earlier tradition of watchmen. Bobbys are perceived by the public (including criminals) to be watching out for the good of citizens rather than focusing on the use of lethal force to subdue them. Historically, the criminals in Britain have not armed themselves to the degree ours have.

America has always been fixated on gun toting cowboys as heroes.  Once it was the lone marshall facing a ruthless gang. Today it's reversed with a ruthless SWAT team overwhelming a single person. Have you ever watched "Dallas SWAT" on TV? Yikes! As an incentive to get things started in the right direction, I propose the KPD provide a small cash bonus, as "Non-Combat Pay", for each police officer who can walk the streets of Kauai for a day without a gun.

What do you want to see here? This...

Or perhaps this?

Image above:
Detail of a poster for Dallas SWAT on A&E cable channel.

Council anxious to fund improved department
by Nathan Eagle on 4 April in The Garden Island News

The Kaua‘i Police Department wants two new staff positions, more protective equipment and improved information technology programs.

The County Council looked ready yesterday to fund this and then some — whatever it takes to help the new police chief continue his mission to overhaul a previously embattled department.

Police Chief Darryl Perry, the veteran law enforcement officer who took the reins in October, candidly answered the council’s questions and justified the requests made in the department’s proposed $20.5 million budget for next fiscal year.

Deputy Police Chief Mark Begley joined Perry to help field the seven-member legislative body’s questions posed during a more than three-hour hearing at the Historic County Building.

“Hold me accountable, hold us accountable, but give us the tools to do the job,” Perry said.

Councilwoman Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho, a former county prosecutor, said Perry has accomplished more in the past six months than she has seen previous police chiefs do in five years.

“It would be unfair for us not to support you,” she said.

The accolades went around the table, with councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura voicing her pleasure in seeing “good leadership” effectively steer the department in a positive direction.

Perry, who is hoping to attain department accreditation, touched on aspects of this new course.

The change involves modifying the department’s standards of conduct, crime mapping and a shift away from 100 percent “take home” police vehicles into a subsidized program.

Another key area the chief plans to focus on is filling the 38 vacancies in the department, which includes both sworn and civilian positions. Roughly $66,000 to advertise for these jobs and aid recruitment efforts is budgeted.
The two new positions proposed in the budget are for a secretary and a personnel clerk at a cost of $66,000.

The secretary, a position which Iseri-Carvalho said should be renamed, would manage all the clerical duties of the chief’s office and perform an internal audit.
The clerk would create and process human resources documents, saving the county some $40,000 annually by avoiding excessive overtime, according to the proposed budget.

Although not requested, councilman Mel Rapozo asked the chief if he would be open to the county funding an attorney to handle legal matters specifically for the department.

It would be a “tremendous benefit,” Perry said.

While reviewing the 25 tasers and riot shields requested in the budget at a cost of $29,800, discussion turned to the August protests over Hawaii Superferry’s first two trips to Kaua‘i.

Rapozo said that officers seemed unprepared and improperly outfitted to handle the hundreds of demonstrators who rallied at Nawiliwili Harbor.

He questioned if 25 riot shields was enough, noting that similar protests will likely occur again for a different controversial issue or whenever the interisland catamaran decides to resume passenger-vehicle service to the Garden Isle.

“The Kaua‘i Police Department was not prepared for what happened,” Perry said, referring to the Superferry protests.

The department still lacks the necessary equipment to handle such a situation “instantaneously,” but operational plans are now in place to partner with other agencies to effectively respond, he said.

He said this is the first phase of an equipment upgrade, noting his preference to the term “protective shields” rather than “riot gear.”

The department’s proposed budget is up some $2 million over the current fiscal year’s.

Mayor Bryan Baptiste’s overall proposed operating budget for fiscal year 2009 is $155.7 million, a nearly 5 percent increase.

The council yesterday also reviewed the proposed budgets for the Personnel Department and Office of the County Clerk.

Departmental budget reviews resume with the Planning Department at 9 a.m., Monday, in council chambers.

See also:
Island Breath: Lingle Plan for Police State