The state of Hawai‘i Organization of Police Officers, which serves as the exclusive bargaining unit for 3,000 officers statewide, has endorsed Bernard P. Carvalho Jr. in the Kaua‘i mayoral race, according to the Carvalho campaign.
“Bernard Carvalho has the integrity, personality, leadership, vision and drive to be a great mayor and leader for the people of Kaua‘i,” Bryson Ponce, SHOPO’s Kaua‘i representative, said in a statement. “He pledges to be very supportive of our police officers in all aspects which include wages, hours, and working conditions.
“I am sure that Bernard Carvalho will work hard on supporting our police department and our officers to be competitive in helping with filling vacant positions, retaining officers, fighting the war on drugs and drug abuse, and bringing back core family values that is so much needed in our society.”
Carvalho, a 46-year-old Kaua‘i native, is running on a platform of support for the county’s anti-drug effort as well as building an adolescent drug treatment facility.
“We have to give our kids the option to deal with their problems here in their own community where they can benefit from the support of their families,” Carvalho said.
He said more needs to be done in the areas of drug prevention, rehabilitation and successful re-entry of offenders, as well as on the enforcement side of the issue.
“All of this supports the mission of the Kauai Police Department and the work they do every day to keep drugs off our streets and away from our kids,” Carvalho said.
The endorsement could be a surprise to some, as Mel Rapozo, one of three other mayoral challengers, is a former Kaua‘i police officer.
“We have some of the veteran police officers in our campaign and I’m excited about that,” said Rapozo, who received an endorsement from the Hawai‘i Fire Fighters Association late last month. “The endorsement doesn’t change how I feel about the (Police) Department and I will continue to support them.”