by Anthony Sommer
Chapter 17: Former Police Chief George Freitas
On Oct. 21, 2003, George Freitas announced he would retire as chief of police effective Oct. 31.
Freitas stopped short of saying he was being forced out by Mayor Bryan Baptiste.
But, obviously, he was.
“Was I contacted about retiring or did I initiate the contact?” Freitas asked. “I was contacted.”
Freitas was “asked to retire” on the day he returned from his honeymoon.
Exactly what options were open to Freitas other than to accept the buyout never have been made clear.
It was obvious the county attorney had worn down yet another opponent. Freitas was not willing to pay the lawyer fees to keep fighting.
Forced retirement wasn’t all gloom for Freitas, who had just turned 60. The county paid him $200,000 in compensation (again approved in a Council secret meeting) for taking early retirement rather than finishing out his contract with the county.
He already was receiving a pension from the Richmond (Calif.) Police Department where he had been an assistant chief.
His new bride, Elizabeth, was a retired Richmond police detective with her own pension and already had established a business administering polygraph tests and working as a private investigator for several private attorneys on Kauai.
Although his name is on the door with Elizabeth’s in the family investigations firm, from all appearances Elizabeth does most of the detecting while George prowls the island’s many golf courses.
If the mayor and Council publicly thanked Freitas for his many years of service, wished him well and gave him a gold watch, it must have happened in an executive session.
With Freitas out of the picture, Mayor Baptiste could now “fix” the broken KPD.