POSTED: 15 MAY 2008 - 8:00pm HST

TGI #30: The Kauai Police Mission

image above: An unarmed English Bobby. Street peace officers protecting the innocent

[Normally this column scheduled to appear every other Sunday in the Kauai Garden Island News. These TGI articles are derived from stories. The TGI printed version may vary from its source, as TGI retains the right to correct and edit the submitted articles. The exclusive use, and copyright to the published version is held by TGI owner, Kauai Publishing.]

Kauai Police Mission
by Juan Wilson on 18 May 2008 Revision 5.1 080520

The Vision Thing
" If you don't understand your mission, you're going to lose your way."
- Chief Perry, Kauai Police Department

In the May 7th issue of "Kauai People" Joan Conrow interviewed Darryl Perry, the recently appointed Chief of the Kauai Police Department (KPD). She writes:

"Perry is essentially overhauling the entire department, starting with reassessing all its policies and procedures and familiarizing employees with the KPD's mission statement..."

A Mission is based on an overarching Vision of the purpose of the enterprise. If Chief Perry is intent on a major overhaul of the KPD, we need to know his Vision and how well it conforms the current KPD Mission. It may be that both need adjustment to achieve a positive change for Kauai.

Living on an isolated tropical island does not mean we don't need police. But, we do not have to emulate the militarized police of big cities on the mainland.

Certainly, the brave men and women of the KPD are not afraid to be without a loaded gun while they sip coffee or have a plate lunch with us. Heck, we civilians are not wearing guns. I'm sure the police would get more respect and cooperation from the public if they didn't either.

Our police should be experts in mediation, and consensus building, not crowd control and counter-terrorism. I certainly don't mind us buying our finest some cool gear, just let it be stuff they can use every day to make our lives better.

Let's move the officers out of their bloated gas-guzzlers and into some sporty electric golf carts. Let's buy them bicycles - good ones. We could do with a few horse-mounted police too. I would recommend the police be equipped top-of-the-line GPS systems, smart phones, and digital recording devices. High tech – not highly lethal.

Integrity, Compassion and Aloha
In the overhaul of our police department, we should consider adding "Integrity", "Compassion" and the "Spirit of Aloha" to Mission Statement. If we take them seriously and in context, specific words do matter. In trying to better understand the mission of the KPD, I found it enlightening to do a comparison with other Hawaiian police departments.

The KPD mission statement follows the pattern of police departments of Honolulu (HPD) and Maui (MPD) with its dedication to the principles of Respect, Service and Fairness. But, I was surprised, that among the principles specified, the KPD does not include Integrity (listed first by HPD and MPD) or Compassion (listed second by MPD).

Perhaps more significantly, a review of the mission statements for all Hawaiian police departments reveals that Kauai's is the only one that does not include the ideal of "The Spirit of Aloha".

The Mission is the Message
The Big Island Police Department has the briefest Mission Statement in the state;

"The employees of the Hawaii Police Department are committed to preserving the Spirit of Aloha. We will work cooperatively with the community to enforce the laws, preserve peace, and provide a safe environment."

Perhaps I am reading too much into the KPD Mission, but I keep finding it emphasized by Chief Perry. On the homepage of the KPD website, Perry writes;

"The Kauai Police Department’s mission statement is the foundation of who we are and what we are about... On our island-home we marvel at the beauty that surrounds us and we take pride in keeping Kauai a safe and peaceful community.But we also understand that there are social issues that require law enforcement presence..."

Does this imply that beyond maintaining the peace and safety on Kauai, there is another agenda related to "social issues"? What are they? I hope it's not suppressing Hawaiian sovereignty groups; providing speculators security for unwanted development; enforcing the return of the Superferry; or protecting the pesticide spraying of GMO corporations on the westside.image

image above: LAPD SWAT training Hamilton County CA police with new equipment

Police - Military - Business
There are trends in American society that are distorting and blending the roles of police , military and business. This role morphing has eroded our civil rights. Some obviously dangerous examples are:

Business as Military:
The Blackwater USA Corporation is a mercenary army that has played a key role in special operations in Iraq. It provides (shoot first, ask no questions) security for the U.S. State Department in Baghdad. They are currently building a fortress headquarters in California near the Mexican border.

Military as Business:

The Hawaii Superferry (HSF) is on the surface a money losing civilian ferry operation. Below the surface it is a program of experimental ship building, designed to meet the needs of inter-branch military logistics in the Pacific with a Joint High Speed Vessel - JHSV. The program is funded by civilian state and federal dollars and is operated by a board of ex-military professionals. Billions are at stake.

Police as Business:

The Superferry operates with no EIS as the result of a business conspiracy. The KPD was provided as its security detail, even though our County Council had passed a resolution recommending the EIS be completed before the ferry come to Kauai. By order of Governor Lingle, the KPD was then brought under the Unified Command and used to arrest demonstrators defying the Superferry.

Business as Police:
The Correctional Corporation of America (CCA) operates a private prison system with over 75,000 "residents". They have been accused of lobbying for longer mandatory prison sentences as punishment for minor crimes like marijuana use. Almost one-in-one-hundred Americans are in prison.

Police as Military:
Special Weapons Assault Teams (S.W.A.T.) are in almost every town in America. These police want to be equipped with cool black outfits, assault rifles, kevlar vests and armored Hummers... and they're getting them.

Military as Police:
All we need say are the words "Guantanamo" or "Abu Graib"

The various mixes of Police-Military-Business result in the protection of corporate profits, control of civilian populations and expansion of military domination. We have a name for this - it is called a Police State. That is a situation in which the police are not on your side. There is no room for that in this, the Aloha State.

Old Proverbs
"If brute force is not working, you're not using enough of it."
This is the modus operandi of those that rely on lethal force for their authority. It is my opinion that during normal shifts, our police should not wear guns. Lethal and near lethal devices should be locked away in the patrol vehicle, for use when a psychopath shows up and gets rowdy.

"It is the duty of police to Protect & Serve"
Even when police "protect" us, it is rare that brute force is required. Most often is "service" that we need - interpreting the law; mediating strife; coordinating events; handling emergencies. That is the relationship we need most.

"Where's a cop when you need one?"
In tough times the best answer to that continues to be;

"On your side."

The Garden Island News Column Menu Listing of all "Island Breath" articles submitted to TGI
7 June 2008 -8:00am HST

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