KPD unveils new HQ in grand opening Friday

LIHU’E — The rooms are mostly empty except for new furnishings, and construction workers are still installing jail cells; but Kaua’i Police Department officers will give tours of the new headquarters this Friday before making the move official.

The entire KPD should be completely moved in by December, and staff from the Civil Defense Agency and Prosecutor’s Office are nearly moved in.

“Everyone’s going to be in the same building now,” said Community Relations Sgt. Ezra Kanoho. Currently, the police department has offices in a building once used as the old county courthouse as well as the former planning commission building next to the Historic County Building.

Final construction costs for the 65,000 square foot facility were $17.7 million, secured through FEMA and Bond monies, according to the County Office of Information.

Ka Hale Maka’i ‘O Kaua’i, or “The House of the Kaua’i Protectors,” which will accommodate the Kaua’i Police Department, Office of the Prosecuting Attorney and Civil Defense, sits on eight acres behind Vidinha Stadium in Lihu’e.

The Civil Defense Agency will occupy about 12,500 square feet; 12,500 square feet is allocated to the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney; and 40,000 square feet for the Kaua’i Police Department, all adjoining the two-acre Kaua’i Bus facility.

The building has been outfitted with modern and high-tech features in all sections and departments, and security measures will be enhanced for the new building.

“I am so pleased that our officers, prosecutors, and Civil Defense staff will have a new and much improved facility in which to carry on their critical operations,” said Mayor Maryanne Kusaka.

Entrance to the interior areas of the building will require passing through several doors. The Chief’s office and Investigative Services Bureau wing have a common entrance and waiting room, but the main doors all have magnetic locks and staff will be able to “buzz” people in and out.

People who want to access records or request police reports or documents will be kept outdoors downstairs while papers are passed through a metal drawer under a half-inch thick glass window. Even police officers will have to place their requests from an opening set in a locked door.

The Police Chief and Investigative Services Bureau offices will be housed upstairs. The office spaces include short-walled cubicles and modern furnishings, including sleek wooden desks and ergonomic chairs. They have even set aside a separate room for writing reports on computers and added four interview rooms.

Tucked away behind locked doors, but not in a separate building as they are now, the officers of the vice squad will also be housed in the second floor of the building.

Except for the tour this Friday or on station tours, the vice section’s offices won’t ever be seen by the public – except those arrested for drug-related charges.

KPD installed a workout room at least twice the size of their current facility, a converted shed next to Vidinha Stadium. They’ve received donations of exercise equipment and will be able to move equipment around for training exercises.

The department’s holding cells are placed downstairs near the rear parking lot, a secured area that will be watched by cameras and surrounded by chain-link fences that will be locked remotely. Officers will be able to ask for entry via radios and use identification cards that can be scanned or swiped through electronic devices to unlock doors and secure areas.

After the “processing” desk where fingerprints and photographs are taken, the wing is separated into two sections, one hallway for juveniles and the other for adults. Down each hallway are four cells, which will be closed with thick metal doors with hospital room-sized windows instead of steel bars as they are now.

Evidence will be held in three areas: a separate structure set just away from the main building; rolling shelving units; and lockers near the holding cells. The evidence section also has something new: a freezer and refrigerator, both walk-ins similar to that in a restaurant.

Also downstairs, the Civil Defense has two secured entrances to pass through to get to the Emergency Operations Center. After the first door is a waiting room, and after the second door, rooms that will house police and fire department dispatchers and civil defense staff.

Past the second door is a 60 person capacity briefing/conference room with two 72″ projection screens. They are going to install a “smart window” that allows one to write directly on the screen and have their writing appear on the big screens. The conference room is for representatives of government agencies and civil defense staff only .

The false floor, eight inches deeper than the walking surface, holds electrical outlets and cords, which can be moved across the floor by lifting panels of the carpet that fit together like a puzzle.

In case of a disaster, natural or otherwise, the people in the room can be kept in the safe area. One main difference is that there won’t be any bunks or places for people to sleep inside the emergency operations center.

Staff of the prosecutor’s office, which is currently in a set of portable buildings near Wilcox Elementary School and the Kaua’i War Memorial Convention Hall, has already started moving items into their new offices upstairs and across the walkway from the Chief’s office.

For the most part, furnishings from the old police station will not be moved to the new building, and are instead being given to the police substations. Several of the safes will be brought to the new building, but the rest of the furnishings, if they aren’t going to used for the police department’s “visitor’s center,” will most likely be left in the building when it is turned over to the State’s control.

The blessing and grand opening of Ka Hale Maka’i ‘O Kaua’i will be held Oct. 25 at 2 p.m. The public is invited to attend, but seating is limited. The new facility can be reached via Ho’olako Street around Vidinha Stadium in Lihu’e.

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