LIHUE — The public will have the opportunity today to comment on the Kauai Police Department’s ability to comply with standards set out by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.
Representatives from CALEA will be at the Lihue Civic Center to hear what the public has to say and determine whether KPD complies with its state-of-the-art standards regarding policies, procedures, management, operations, and support services. The session will take place in the meeting room 2A/B of the Moikeha Building at 5 p.m.
The department has been seeking accreditation since 2008, shortly after KPD Chief Darryl Perry became the county’s seventh police chief in 2007.
“This has been one of my main priorities since taking office, but only within the last three years have we been able to overcome staffing restrictions through resource reallocations which allowed for significant progress toward accreditation,” Perry said. “We have a dedicated staff tasked to revise, update, and initiate KPD’s policies and procedures so that we are CALEA compliant.”
He said it’s important to get accreditation from CALEA because of the benefits the organization provides.
The goals of CALEA are to strengthen crime prevention and control capabilities, formalize essential management procedures, and increase community and staff confidence in the agency, among other things, according to the CALEA website.
“The importance of accreditation is to maintain the highest standards of professionalism as well as looking at better methods to enhance and improve service delivery to our community,” Perry said. “It also shows our commitment toward excellence in law enforcement.”
One of the biggest challenges the department has faced since starting the process is the limited staffing, Perry said.
“The accreditation process varies from agency to agency dependent on available resources specifically assigned to that task,” Perry said. “In the case of KPD, because of limited staffing, we were not able to proceed as quickly as I would have hoped. However, I am pleased to be at this point in the process and we are very excited to be hosting CALEA this week for its on-site assessment of the department.”
Beat restructuring was one part of the department’s plans since 2009.
“The latest beat was created in the Kawaihau District a year or so ago in anticipation of hiring six new officers from the COPS grant,” said Deputy County Attorney Peter Morimoto, who has been assisting KPD through the accreditation process. “While the beat is structurally in place, KPD has not been able to staff it on a full-time basis because of staffing shortages.”
KPD currently has 13 total vacancies. The department is authorized to staff 162 officers, but currently employs 149.
The Kauai Police Department is the only department in the state without accreditation.
Those wishing to comment via telephone may do so by calling 241-1923 between 1 and 3 p.m. today.