Police union wants Lum out

Just two days after appearing to offer his boss an olive branch and showing a willingness to work out deep-seated problems in the Kaua’i Police Department, the union leader is now calling for KPD Chief K.C. Lum’s resignation.

Officer Bryson Ponce, chair of the Kaua’i chapter of the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers (SHOPO), said yesterday union leaders will likely call for Lum’s resignation “as soon as possible.”

Lum said yesterday he has no intention of resigning. Only members of the Kaua’i Police Commission have the authority to fire the chief.

Since Lum took office in late 2004, union leaders have been trying to resolve issues that have cropped up at the police department, Ponce said. Ponce said Lum was supposed “come clean” at Friday’s Police Commission meeting.

Ponce said that Lum was expected to write a speech about the problems in the department, and what he was going to do about them.

“He was supposed to prepare a speech to the commission and for the public on anything and everything from communications, to morale, to recruiting and retention, and he didn’t do it,” said Ponce.

Ponce said that Lum “danced around” those issues at the meeting.

“He did not explain what his solutions were going to be,” said Ponce.

Ponce said that Lum met with union representatives three times before Friday’s meeting was held.

In those meetings, the representatives explained to Lum that he needs to “come clean” to members of the Police Commission and to members of the public about mismanagement, morale issues, internal investigations, and collective-bargaining issues, Ponce said.

Ponce claimed that Lum promised to write a speech about those problems, and that he was to address what he is going to do about them.

Ponce alleged that Lum was not honest, and lacked integrity, because he did not do what he said he was going to do.

Rather than “bust” Lum at the meeting for not writing a speech and coming up with solutions, Ponce and other union leaders came out with a press release yesterday, saying that Lum does not have the qualifications to do the job, and should be removed from office.

“It is SHOPO’s belief and position that Chief Lum does not possess the qualifications, management skills, leadership, and overall presence that commands respect and trust from his own administration and, more importantly, the front-line officers,” said Tenari R. Ma’afala, a Honolulu Police Department officer and state-wide SHOPO president, in the press release.

Ponce was at Friday’s meeting along with Ma’afala. During the meeting, union members and Lum agreed to work out their differences.

Lum said yesterday that he said what he said at that meeting. He also said that anyone can ask for his resignation anytime, and that it is up to the Police Commission to act on it.

He pointed out that he was surprised about SHOPO leaders’ latest move, especially after last Friday’s unity meeting.

He said he is not going to resign.

“The police department is doing good things for the community. The internal problems we got have nothing to do with community policing,” he said.

Members of the Police Commission, appointed by the mayor, have the authority to hire and fire the police chief.

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