‘Fresh beginning’ for Kaua‘i Police

New commission chair sees positive 2008

by Nathan Eagle – THE GARDEN ISLAND

The new year will bring a fresh start for a “bright future” on Kaua‘i, the next county Police Commission chair said yesterday.

The seven-member group unanimously chose Tom Iannucci to succeed Russ Grady at its Dec. 21 meeting at the Historic County Building. Leon Gonsalves will serve as the commission’s new vice chair.

Top 2008 priorities for the commission, Iannucci said, will include the continued support of newly-hired Kaua‘i Police Chief Darryl Perry and repairing community relations.

“It’s a joint thing,” he said. “We’re there for the people.”

After joining the commission in January 2005, Iannucci said he and the other members went through the grueling process of selecting a “visionary and leader” to transform an embattled county police department.

Perry, who was sworn in Oct. 1, filled a position that had been vacant since June 2006.

The commission — which is tasked with hiring, firing and reviewing the police chief among other duties — plans to support Perry in his “rebuilding process,” Iannucci said.

Backed by County Council and Mayor Bryan Baptiste, the commission will help foster a “premier police department for our island,” he said.

An “outstanding” police force has been overshadowed by media reports on the “unfortunate” actions of a “handful of guys,” he added.

Repairing the commission’s relationship with local press, he said, will help the public see the real police department.

Iannucci has served as pastor at Breath of Life Christian Ministries in Lihu‘e for some 15 years. He said he has been involved with some type of ministry since serving in the Marine Corps.

With a new chair, a new chief, a new deputy and essentially a new commission, Iannucci said, “I just see good things taking place over the next year.”

The process is moving forward to replace departing member Carol Furtado with mayoral appointee Leonard Rapozo, Jr., according to John Isobe, county Boards and Commissions Office administrator.

It is feasible, Isobe said, for Rapozo to be confirmed prior to the commission’s next meeting.

Before approving Rapozo, Isobe said, council wants the county Ethics Board to determine if he has any potential conflict in serving as a police commissioner.

The Ethics Board meets Jan. 10, council on Jan. 17 and the commission on Jan. 25.

Charles Fulks, Rowena Tachibana and Alfred Nebre comprise the rest of the commission, which meets monthly at Council Chambers.


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