Saturday, August 1, 2009

PNN EDITORIAL: STEP DOWN NOW CHIEF PERRY

PNN EDITORIAL: STEP DOWN NOW CHIEF PERRY

Kauai Police Chief Darryl Perry’s announcement that he is seeking to leave the Kaua`i Police Department (KPD) after only a couple of years and become the Honolulu Department Chief is an outrageous slap in the face of everyone on the island, citizens and officers alike.

While we have never been a fan of Perry’s heavy handed abandonment of the “community policing” programs instituted by the two prior chiefs, his main accomplishment- improving the so-called “morale” of officers- is so severely undermined by his announcement that there is only one thing he can do to insure a well functioning KPD- resign immediately.

Despite some convoluted head-scratching rationale (as reported in the local Kaua`i newspaper) that somehow he will be helping KPD by heading up HPD and that he seeks to depart only reluctantly, his leaving makes it abundantly clear that he never had any intention other than to use Kaua`i as a stepping stone to the HPD job since without the “experience” as KPD Chief he would have never met the qualifications needed for consideration there.

But even more unsettling is the political upheaval his relentless pursuit of the job perpetrated upon the political apparatus of the county.

Perry’s supporters were relentless in their push to give him the job of KPD chief. They and he have caused Kaua`i to be torn apart by things like:
-racist slurs from a police commissioner and the lack of action by the appointing mayor and council;
-witch hunts against the two prior chiefs by two mayors and a handful of councilmembers who supported Perry and plotted revenge against former Chief KC Lum and the two commissioners who dared to support him rather than give Perry the job;
-a resulting unethical hatchet job by the ethics board, and when all else failed
-an threat to illegally cancel Lum’s contract by the finance director who was apparently rewarded with a cushy private sector job for his action.

All of these were very transparently either directed by Perry or at least done in his name after he was denied the job when former Chief George Freitas was chased out of office and Lum was hired.

To leave after only two years of a three year contract after pledging that he was “coming home” for good and sought to continue as chief until his retirement is bound to have many severe repercussions on the psyche of KPD employees.

Officers are bound to be left feeling hurt and confused after putting away many of their long standing grievances to rally around Perry in the hope that the once fractured and divided department could be made whole again under his reign.

The fact that he pledged to rebuild KPD through an effort to finally obtain the accreditation that all the other islands’ departments have and bring the number of sworn officers up to appropriated levels- and is now abandoning that pledge- makes his effectiveness a thing of the past.

As such he has but one choice if he is indeed acting in the best interest of Kaua`i – to step down now, save everyone months of uncertainty and perhaps animosity and allow someone who is a person of his or her word- someone who is actually committed to serving KPD and the people of Kaua`i and not just to perpetuating his or her own career- to take over the reigns as soon as possible.

We’ve never been a supporter of Perry after the scandalous way the last two chiefs were harassed out of office in order to place Perry at the helm, as described in the book KPD Blue by former Honolulu Star-Bulletin Kaua`i Bureau Chief Anthony Sommer (see right rail to read the book).

We’ve objected , among other things, to his rigid anachronistic stance opposing medical and general marijuana law reform and to his apparent complicity in the actions of officers who stepped over the thin blue line in reported incidents of excessive force, especially many involving kanaka maoli (“native Hawaiian”) sovereignty advocates.

On the other hand we have had to respect the way many officers have apparently rallied around him and resolved- or at least suppressed- many long standing intradepartmental animosities and disputes.

But this action in announcing that we were never anything but a means to an end for him makes it doubtful that he can still function effectively at the helm and do the one thing he has done well in uniting KPD officers.

Step down now chief and save us more pain on top of that which you’ve already inflicted in jilting us.

1 comment:

shannon said...

Ah, our own Sarah Palin. Quitter!