Thursday, March 5, 2009



The Kaua`i Police Department “will not meet the 10% budget cuts” ordered by Mayor Bernard Carvalho and will actually show a 4% increase “due to collective bargaining agreements”, Police Commissioner Tom Iannucci told the commission at it’s meeting last Friday (Feb 27),

As PNN first- and still exclusively- reported in January, Carvalho has ordered all department heads to make 10% “across the board” cuts to their proposed 2009-10 budgets.

The full budget is due in the council’s hands by March 15.

Overtime, due to the chronic shortage of sworn officers that has plagued the department for more than a decade, is the prime reason for the non-compliance of the department according to Chief Darryl Perry.

He explained to commissars the domino effects of the shortage that caused some officers to work almost double normal number of hours, often at time-and-a-half or even double time in some instances.

He said another contributing factor is the shortage of not just sworn officers but also of civilian public safety workers who staff the cell block causing the department to take officers off the beat to guard those who are arrested.

According to Perry the department currently has 17 vacancies but hopes to graduate all 13 recruits in the current class that ends July 31 and start another in August or September.

Perry told the commission that the department is willing to “go the extra mile” to give individual help to any recruit who shows signs of dropping out and anticipates a 100% graduation rate this time around.

But the fact that there are 91 candidate right now who are awaiting processing and background checks caused Commissioner Leon Gonsalves to chide Perry for not moving fast enough to bring the department up to it’s full staffing complement of 148 sworn public safety officers.

Perry told the commission that the three or four officers devoted to doing the background checks- often stated as the main delay in processing- were enough. But Gonsalves told Perry “we’ve got to step it up” saying he’s been dismayed at the more than deliberate manner that new recruits are processed for the six years he’s been on the commission.

Gonsalves expressed displeasure over the year or more it has routinely taken from the time of application to beginning the class and told Perry that “guys are falling away” because it takes so long.

Perry also told the commission that even at 148 sworn officers KPD is short staffed by 26 officers when compared to the other counties’ officer-to-population ratios.

That situation may be addressed in the near future by what Perry said was “a billion dollars out there” in federal money some of which will allow KPD to expand the number of slots for officers by 35.

The federal funding would cover the first three years of salary for each new officer but after that the county would need to fund them causing one commissioner to remark that the council has been slow to authorize raising the number of officers despite their oft stated dedication to providing “whatever the department needs” to insure public safety.

Also on the commission agenda, after a report indicating rising crime figures on Kaua`i, when asked by a commissioner why Perry stated that “we have intelligence that some guys are coming over from O`ahu to commit crime” in addition to citing tough economic times as a traditional time of increased crime.

In addition to not meeting the 10% across the board cuts the department is also trying to get out from under the hiring freeze the county has imposed for “support staff”.

When asked about it by a commissioner Perry grinned and said “you had to ask me that” before carefully choosing his words in saying “we’re working with the Mayor’s office on that".

The commission also voted to go ahead and host the Hawai`i state police commissioner’s meeting this May after much debate about cost and the need for the department budget to be spent on departmental needs. To reduce costs the convention will use local speakers such as U.S. Attorney Ed Kubo who will be the keynote speaker.

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