Westside residents and others on Kaua’i who have clamored long and loud for a
stronger public personna from the island’s police got it this week, albeit
under unfortunate circumstances.
In response to intense public and news
media reaction to the second murder of a woman in the Westside area since
April, police officials met with reporters Thursday in a relatively rare—for
Kaua’i Police—press conference. Chief George Freitas and inspector Melvin
Morris confirmed there are similarities between the murder victims and the
locations and conditions of their bodies when they were found. The officials
also revealed that the latest victim was sexually assaulted, as was a woman who
survived a stabbing and attempted rape in May in the same general area of the
Divulging such information may have been difficult for the police,
considering their usual practice of keeping crime reports close to their vests.
The tightlipped approach has frustrated citizens who, in an attempt to
safeguard themselves, wanted to know more about a variety of unsolved crimes
around the island. While the police are well within reason to keep certain
crime details secret during pending investigations, their unwillingness to part
with relatively general information only served to alienate some of the people
Opening up this week to the public via the press conference was
a refreshing and hopefully permanent change in attitude. The police department
may find out that fostering a more free relationship with its constituents
could even help catch a killer.
Police Chief George Freitas