LIHUE — In the current Kauai Police Department recruit class, few are from Kauai. That raised questions for councilman Ross Kagawa.
“I’ve talked to a couple Kauai students who have criminal science degrees and one of them did not qualify because of the written test, and the other didn’t qualify because of the psych exam,” he said Wednesday.
Kagawa would like to see more locals hired. If Kauai residents can get a job with KPD, that’s one less person to worry about, he said.
“A lot of the community, when you talk to them, they ask what we’re doing about affordable housing,” he said. “And this is an easy solution. Give the best-paying jobs on Kauai, do as much as we can, to help our youth and support them in getting good jobs that pay well and are consistent,” he said.
Robert Gausephol, KPD assistant chief, said Kauai residents have an advantage in seeking police jobs.
“You can take the test again and again,” he said to the Public Safety and Transportation Committee. “I strongly encourage anyone who has the desire and hasn’t passed the written test to try again or to reach out to us and we’ll give material to study. Anybody with a four-year degree can pass the test.”
KPD has 15 vacancies. The starting pay is $60,504.
Since April 2012, KPD has hired 70 police officers. Of those, 47 were Kauai residents, Gausephol said.
He also said the department hasn’t turned down a Kauai applicant in favor of one from the Mainland.
Locally, efforts are made to attract people to police work through job fairs, career days and advertisements, said Lt. Roderick Green.
Programs like the Police Explorers and the Kauai Police Activities League have been instrumental in attracting Kauai’s younger generation to law enforcement.
“Any interaction with the community is an opportunity to screen people to see if they have an interest in the profession,” Green said.
KPD, Kauai Community College and the Office of Continuing Education created a curriculum to prepare students for the written test. But that program was funded by a grant and money ended last year, Green said.