guest viewpoint

Police Department operates in the real world

by Tom Iannucci

In response to Juan Wilson’s Island Breath column, “Toward a Kauai police mission statement,” that ran on the Forum page May 24 in The Garden Island:

The first thing I had to do after reading Wilson’s column was look at the byline and see what planet Wilson was writing from. I was shocked to see Hanapepe listed.

Wilson’s commentary was verbal buffoonery at its finest and I’m shocked that The Garden Island allows him to even have a column. But “freedom of speech” is a right we have, don’t we? I don’t have to like what you say do I? And yes Wilson, you have the right to bash our department, or trash talk it or say what you like about all the good employees, officers and the families they represent islandwide, and be protected by the Kauai Police Department to do so.

The KPD doesn’t get the luxury of picking and choosing who they protect and defend, because whether you like a person’s views or not, they have their rights and our department enforces those rights. It’s called the law.

Chief Darryl Perry is an outstanding example of fairness and openness and has a myriad of complex issues pertaining to our department that he is tackling in a systematic manner. The mission statement is just one of many works in progress. Before your attack on our department and its mission statement, the updated statement was being handed out. Myself, as a police commissioner, along with all the other commissioners present and the leaders of the department were handed the updated mission statement that has been worked on for months with the input from various members of KPD. Among other things, the revised mission statement included a section on the “aloha spirit” and its inclusion in Hawai‘i state law.

He even listed the statute (HRS 5-7.5) that mandates it and included “pono” as something needed to be emulated as well. Maybe you want to look that one up?

By the way, all police department mission statements on all islands were reviewed when they put our statement together. But thanks for your late input, or criticism.

Our police have a fine mission statement and tough job to do. Unlike your conspiracy theory, our police officers have to go out and provide protection for both the Superferry and those who protest against it. They don’t arrest protesters, but those who violate those laws that allow us all free speech. Whether it’s someone from the Superferry or someone protesting, KPD is always in the middle. It doesn’t matter what they think or feel, they just have to do their job, and it’s one hell of a tough job. But, maybe your right Wilson, maybe it would be better if the police didn’t carry guns or drive gas-guzzling vehicles that are capable of high speeds, or have “cool equipment” like you said. Maybe we do need electric cars or better yet, like you said, bikes or horses.

Maybe nothing bad will ever happen on Kaua‘i either? Maybe no bad people will ever come here, or sell drugs, or beat or abuse people, or rob banks, or have any weapons and our police can ride on skateboards and carry water pistols, or maybe rubber bands and paper clips for tougher problems? Maybe Kaua‘i will only have model law-abiding citizens, transplants and visitors? Maybe no bad people will move here or set up gambling houses, drug rings or organized crime families. Maybe the next time someone’s pinned in their car after an accident the gas-guzzling fire trucks will have been removed and Kauai Fire Department will get there in an hour or two on skateboards or electric scooters? Maybe the police will respond in the same way if there is shooting in your neighborhood? Maybe if a drug ring pops up in your community or next door to you we can have a “consensus building” team meeting with them and express our dismay? Maybe they will disassemble and go away? Maybe the police should all just learn “tongue fu” and talk that guy high on “ice” out of his rampage? Maybe we can all just get along and live in peace and harmony?

That’s what we all want, but that is just not reality. Is it Wilson?

Maybe nothing bad will ever happen here? Maybe we’ll never have something like the Oklahoma City bombing or the destruction of the World Trade Center towers, or something of that magnitude, or something like a Columbine incident? Maybe we’ll never have a hurricane or a tsunami either, but I’m sure glad Civil Defense is here and they have the equipment and training they need in case we do.

We may never have any incident here Wilson, but be sure if we do, our department is doing its best to be prepared and do the job the people of Kaua‘i would expect, because if we didn’t, guys like yourself would be crying about why the Police Department wasn’t prepared and didn’t respond to your need in a timely manner. That’s a guarantee.

I don’t know where you are from Wilson, but it seems like you and “rap cancer” guy up on the North Shore should get together and give us tips on how to run the island. Because you guys simply know better.

By the way, to even insinuate that the chief and our officers are in some way “suppressing” Hawaiian Sovereignty groups or “protecting” the pesticide spraying by our children in schools is just shameful. And all you do by making those comments is stir the pot and create more trouble in a place you yourself want to be peaceful. Nothing could be further from the truth.

First, the chief and many of our officers are of Hawaiian descent. The chief’s own sister diligently works as a leader in the Native Hawaiian Legal Corp., a group that assists the Hawaiian people and the sovereignty groups in assessing whether Hawaiian lands were taken illegally or not, and working with them in trying to gain them back. Second, as far as protecting GMO corporations who spray pesticides by our schools, myself and more than a few officers have, and have had, children at those schools during the times in question. Again to insinuate that we as parents disregard the health and well-being of our children to protect a “police agenda” is ludicrous and completely off-base. As are many other things you stated.

But you will sleep well at night Wilson, on Kaua‘i, because many families on this island have members who serve in our military and would be willing to lay down their lives to keep us free and you have KPD rolling around ensuring you have the right to protest, picket or write lopsided commentaries that don’t represent the vast majority of our island and especially the Westside.

But we’ve heard it all before and there is nothing new under the sun.

Because if you’ve heard “Juan,” you’ve heard them all.

You owe our chief, our KPD officers, their families and your boss an apology for taking shots at our department you obviously know little about or care to learn about.

• Tom Iannucci is the chairman of the Kauai Police Commission and a resident of Hanapepe.

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