A history of the Kauai Police Department

The Kauai Police Department traces its origins back to the establishment of the Office of Sheriff in 1851, with James Marshall serving as the island’s first sheriff.

Sheriffs succeeding Marshall were Herman Widemann, Thomas Marshall, D. K. Fyfe, William Owen Smith, Samuel Whitney Wilcox, L. M. Baldwin, Fred Carter, John Haalelea Coney, and William Henry Rice, who was elected sheriff continuously from 1905 through 1942.

When Rice first became sheriff, Kauai’s police force numbered only 15 officers and five deputies.

By 1935, it had grown to 30 officers and five deputies, while today, in 2015, the department numbers 162 officers and 60 civilians, for a total of 222 employees.

In the early days of Rice’s tenure, pay for police officers was $30 per month, while Rice earned $175 a month.

There were only about 15 cars on Kauai, but the police department owned none of them. Nor were officers provided with horses. Instead, they traveled about Kauai using their own horses and carriages. Not until 1915 did Rice get his own car.

Kauai’s last sheriff and first chief of police was Edwin K. Crowell, appointed police chief by the Kauai Police Commission, effective July 1, 1943.

With Crowell’s appointment, the elected position of sheriff was replaced by the Office of Chief of Police.

Historic incidents in the annals of the KPD include the murder of Deputy Sheriff Louis Stolz in Kalalau Valley in 1893 by Koolau, a leper who Stolz intended to take into custody.

Another is the arrest in 1920 of Kekaha Sugar Co. train robber Kaimiola Hali in Mana by Sheriff Rice and his deputies.

Yet another is the bloody confrontation in Hanapepe on Sept. 9, 1924, known as the “Hanapepe Massacre” between Deputy Sheriff William Olin Crowell and his deputized hunters and striking Filipino sugar workers.

Born and raised on Kauai, the Garden Isle’s present chief of police, Darryl Perry, was sworn in as Kauai’s seventh police chief on Oct. 1, 2007.

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