Letters for Oct. 11, 2014

• Appalled by remarks about KPD • Reward recyclers, don’t punish ‘em 

Appalled by remarks about KPD

I am writing in response to a letter submitted by Mr. Greg Ellis of Fresno, California, dated Oct. 2.

As the Bureau Commander of the Kauai Police Department’s Patrol Services Bureau, I feel compelled to respond to his ill-conceived accusations.

Frankly, I am appalled that someone professing to have 34 years of law enforcement experience would make such disparaging remarks, not only toward a department’s leadership, but to every officer within its ranks, based solely on his personal observations during his visits to the island.

The Kauai Police Department, and each and every one of our officers, recognize the correlation between traffic enforcement and preventing traffic accidents and fatalities. Yes, we have a strong emphasis on enforcing speed limits, seatbelt requirements, and distracted driving laws — because these offenses kill.

Contrary to Mr. Ellis’s claims, traffic enforcement is not our only area of focus and responsibility. Our police department is made up of three separate bureaus, each concentrating on different areas of law enforcement. While our patrol officers are the most visible in our community – as they are dressed in uniform and drive marked vehicle — they are not the only officers helping to tackle street crimes, such as the drug use Mr. Ellis says he witnessed, but didn’t report.

Furthermore, tackling illegal drug use on our island is the responsibility of all of us, not just police. Anyone who witnesses illegal activity of any kind is urged to call 911 immediately.

In closing, Maluhia Road, also known as the Tree Tunnel, and the roadways leading up to it, have seen numerous traffic fatalities. Maluhia Road has a straightway that leads to a very curvy section that is not easily negotiated at high speeds, particularly to drivers who are unfamiliar and thus unsuspecting of the variation. In an attempt to improve traffic safety in this area, at the request of the growing Koloa-Poipu community, KPD has worked with the Koloa Community Association, the County Council, and other agencies in recent years to lower speed limits near residences and areas with high pedestrian traffic, such as the Koloa Bypass Road, where Mr. Ellis was pulled over. Slowing down the traffic in this area has greatly reduced the number of traffic accidents, and most community members are grateful for the enforcement.

Accusing officers of “traps” and “targeting” are common themes among those who break the law. Traffic fatalities don’t discriminate between resident and visitor, or young and old, and neither do our traffic laws. All motorists – residents and visitors alike – must obey the law, for your safety and the safety of those around you. Simply put, the best way to avoid a speeding ticket is to obey the posted limit.

Roy Asher, assistant chief

Patrol Services Bureau

Kauai Police Department

Reward recyclers, don’t punish ‘em

The County of Kauai should carefully reconsider the “weigh to pay” concept originally advanced to help extend the life of our landfill. A better approach might be to “weigh to get paid.”

You should be rewarding people for recycling, not raising fees on them. Most of our citizens are law abiding and care about the environment.

However, as noted in an earlier letter to the Forum, some either won’t or can’t pay extra for recycling. It won’t take many such people before our highways and byways will be littered beyond belief. It will cost the county (and we taxpayers) much more to do roadside cleanup than curbside pickup.

The county should look at all other costs associated with any changes to the current system. I am still offended by the last round. The county invested in new automated trucks and the 96 gallon bins to make curbside collection less labor intensive and more efficient.

The antiquated system was paid for out of the county general fund, largely supported by property taxes. When the new, more efficient system was put in place, a new RRCA “trash fee” of $144 a year showed up on our tax bill. In our case, that amounted to a 14.5 percent increase, blowing the doors off the supposed 2 percent cap then in place.

That RRCA “trash fee” walks like a property tax, quacks like a property tax, and shows up on our real property tax bill. Please, we are not ready for more “efficiency” of this sort.

John Love

Kapaa

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