Police finally givepublic what it wants

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

island.

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

they serve.

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

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