Chief’s Corner: Kaua‘i emergency dispatch handles 40,000 calls annually

Q: While at a friend’s get together this past weekend, I was asked the following: What number should I call for police assistance?

A: Well, it all depends on the nature of the assistance requested. In emergency cases that are in progress or have just occurred such as house fires, assaults, domestic disputes, burglaries, thefts, persons in distress requiring medical assistance, and the like, 911 would be the appropriate number.

In most other cases where the incident has already occurred and there are no injures and/or suspects in the area, then the appropriate number to call is 241-1711. Incidents that occurred hours or days prior that do not require immediate response, would fall under that category. For example if you parked your car to go shopping and returned to find damages, calling 241-1711 instead of 911 would be correct.

I was scolded the first week on the job when I called 911 to ask a question of the dispatcher. I was kindly reminded that I should have called 241-1711 instead.

In other jurisdictions, such as O‘ahu, the majority of calls come in through 911 and are then funneled out to the appropriate agency. There, 911 dispatchers ask, “Police, fire or ambulance?” Calls are routed to the appropriate department’s dispatch center from there.

On O‘ahu there are separate dispatch centers for police, fire and ambulance. On Kaua‘i, KPD’s Communication’s Center handles every emergency and/or calls for services, and dispatches the correct agency according to the information received.

On a yearly basis they process and service an average of 40,000-plus calls. And, for your information, these calls will keep rising as cell telephones continue to proliferate the airways. This trend presents additional challenges, but that’s a whole other story.

The upshot is that in non-emergency situations, 241-1711 is the number to call.

Q: What is your position on dogs on the new bike path along shoreline in Kapa‘a?

A: If you’re asking for my personal opinion, I can say this straight forward: I have no problems whatsoever with dogs. As a matter of fact, I like all kinds of dogs — Pluto, Snoopy, Scooby-Doo, Buck (Call of the Wild), Santa’s Little Helper (Simpsons), Kolo and Poco (poi dogs I used to own).

But, really, my personal opinion doesn’t count. As I mentioned in previous articles, KPD’s job is to enforce the laws established by the legislatures that represent our various communities.

Nevertheless, I can understand both sides of the issue. On the county’s side, among other things, there are liability concerns. And on the dog owner’s side there is the freedom to take their dog for a walk on public property that was paid for by our tax dollars. Somewhere along these two extremes there must be a middle ground; we just have to find it.

Q: Could you please address the speeders on Pepelani Loop before someone gets seriously hurt?

A: Our Traffic Safety Unit working in conjunction with the district commander did an extensive survey on the traffic speeds in that location. Utilizing special equipment, we monitored 5,020 vehicles with the following eye-opening results:

• Lowest speed: 10 mph

• Highest speed: 42 mph

• Average speed: 20.46 mph

• Vehicles over limit: 18

• Percentage over limit: 0.0036 percent

• Percentage in compliance: more than 99 percent

As you can see, the percentage of speeding vehicles is very low in comparison to those in compliance. However, because it takes only one careless and irresponsible driver to cause a serious collision, our officers will continue to make periodic checks. By all indicators you live close to one of the safest streets on Kaua‘i.

• Darryl Perry is the chief of police at the Kauai Police Department. Send your comments or questions to


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