Green Harvest veterans visit middle school
PUHI — Representatives from a number of law enforcement services swooped down on Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School Wednesday, putting three helicopters down on school property for a demonstration of the Green Harvest marijuana eradication program.
Chiefess students were invited to see some of the techniques that the state Division of Land and Natural Resources Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) use when they find marijuana plants in inaccessible regions of Kaua‘i.
After the three helicopters flew in from Lihu‘e Airport, following Kaumuali‘i Highway, they circled the school in formation. Then, as the theme song form the television show, “Cops,” “Bad Boys” by Inner Circle, played on the public address system, members of DOCARE repelled down ropes strung from a Hughes 500 helicopter as the pilot steadied the aircraft, landing safely on the school’s field.
Five minutes after the first demonstration, the second Hughes 500 circled the school counter-clockwise as a team member dangled from the end of a large rope.
The third, a U.S. Army Kiowa helicopter, then touched down, and all three crews, as well as at least twenty law enforcement officers – some from the Maui Police Department, Maui DOCARE, Honolulu Police Department, and the federal Drug Enforcement Agency well as the mayor’s and governor’s offices – answered questions from students and handed out pads, pens and rulers.
Students were also invited to view the helicopters after they had been completely shut down. KPD’s SWAT team also gave a demonstration, showing their wares such as heavy machine guns and large shields.
James D. Hopper, one of the pilots of the Hughes 500, gave a few seventh-graders a quick lesson on the instrumentation of his chopper. He said the helicopter, based out of Port Allen, has been involved with all types of rescues, construction jobs, Parks Service work, as well as being part of the green harvest campaign.
And after about an hour, off the two Hughes 500 went, doing a quick, fly-by only about 30 feet off the ground, waving good-bye to the students.
Staff writer Tom Finnegan can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 226)