The Kaua‘i Police Department will ask the county for roughly $16.5 million for its 2007-2008 budget.
The amount — which would include operational enhancements that range from removing mold in the evidence room to increased overtime pay — is reasonable, Police Commissioner Thomas Iannucci said at yesterday’s commission meeting.
The proposed budget is an 11 percent increase over the budget from 2006-2007, which was $14.9 million.
“It’s a small increase for what it needs,” Commissioner Carol Furtado said.
If approved by Mayor Bryan Baptiste and the County Council, the biggest chunk of the budget — roughly $406,437 — would cover the cost of seven new hires.
Acting Police Chief Clayton Arinaga said his top priorities itemized in the proposed budget include the creation of an Internal Affairs division and a one-time $15,000 KPD accreditation application fee.
Furtado said having an IA division is crucial.
“I think the perception in the community is that the department investigate themselves,” she said.
Getting the department accredited also would be a key enhancement that would benefit the community, she added.
“It would be enormous to have all our operating procedures up to par,” she said.
Arinaga also told commissioners that new equipment and updates to the building were critical as well.
In addition to a mold problem in the evidence room, none of the police has Tasers and all of the force will have to replace their protective vests within the next year or so, he said.
“(Tasers) would give us other force options,” he said.
Arinaga allocated approximately $87,600 for new equipment, noting that half of the vests could be purchased this year and the rest could be purchased in 2008-2009.
Augmenting the dispatch connections with state and federal agencies so that there is fluid communication during emergency situations also is needed, and would cost about $40,000, he said.