Green new community relations cop

LIHU‘E — Police Sgt. Roderick Green is well known to island families for the youth programs he helps to run. Now the six-year patrolman has a new role as community relations officer for the Kaua‘i Police Department.

Green took over the role after police Sgt. Paul Applegate accepted another assignment with the department. Green started this month after serving in both the Lihu‘e and Hanalei district precincts. He has been a patrol officer for six years.

The journey to this island began in Chicago where he joined the Marines out of high school. With just two days to go to complete his enlistment, Green said that the Marines extended his service for deployment to the Gulf War.

Upon completion of his military service in California, Green said he went to work for the next 11 years at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. It was there he met his wife, a Kaua‘i native, and the two decided to raise their three children on the island.

The application process to become a Kaua‘i police officer is a difficult one, but Green said the department helped by waiving a residency pre-requisite.

“It was a long process, but I was fortunate enough to become a police officer here,” Green said. “Its like a family.”

Green said its different from Mainland departments, and that the community here is very close but that he has had no difficulty fitting in or adjusting.

“I come from a very humble family,” Green said. “I was raised to treat everyone with respect wherever you go.”

In Los Angeles, he said the calls were endless and the sound of sirens were heard around the clock. Here, he said people treat each other with respect and he enjoys the interaction with community.

People might talk about past troubles at the Kaua‘i Police Department, but Green said that his friends at other departments around the country are envious. Its partly because of the beautiful surroundings, he said, but its also because departments around the country face serious budget challenges with concerns about layoffs as city and county services consolidate.

In his experience working with youth and adults on Kaua‘i, Green said the leading concerns are with alcoholism and drugs. Along with them come the related domestic issues.

Green is very fond of the island’s youth programs and is also in charge of the Kaua‘i Police Activities League.

 It is not officially a part of the department. It began  more than a decade ago as an officer-inspired organization to address youth diversion and prevention goals with constructive recreation and sports opportunities.

One of Green’s first functions as community relations officer came April 8 at the STEPS Parent & Child Fair at Kukui Grove Center Stage. He assisted KPD civilian staff and members of the Youth Explorers program to encourage families to make Keiki ID cards for their kids.

Green said the Keiki ID is essentially the only official identification for most youth.

By updating the ID photograph and fingerprints every six months to a year, along with contact information, the identification card is a valuable tool to aid in investigations.

• Tom LaVenture, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 224) or tlaventure@thegardenisland.com.

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