Fund mental-health professionals, not police
Now that our island has woken up to bad police behavior on the mainland, let me remind you of the incident that happened a few years ago in a quiet Waimea neighborhood.
A mentally-ill man, known well to the community and to the police, was having a nervous breakdown. He was waving a machete, so the police did what police are trained to do. They shot and killed him.
I won’t call it a police murder. I won’t call it part of the worldwide bully-culture of police departments. I will just call it a horribly-inappropriate event that took another human being’s life at the hands of our taxpayer-funded police.
Instead of funding a police SWAT (special weapons and tactics) team or a “green-harvest” helicopter, let’s fund some mental-health professionals. Let’s turn that empty drug-rehab building in Hanapepe to a counseling center. (Remember that center was Councilman Arthur Brun’s campaign issue. He knew he had a problem and probably wanted to help the island and clear his own mental-health issues). Police departments and jails should be a small part of crime prevention. It is time for change.
Gordon LaBedz, Kekaha
Gig workers are helpless
I have called 1,200 times. I’ve sent emails to UI and PUA. I’ve sent a fax. I’ve sent emails to the Kaua‘i mayor and the Hawai‘i governor. I’ve gone to the unemployment office in Lihu‘e, only to be turned away by U.S. Army soldiers.
I am a gig worker, and we are in an impossible situation. We were told we need to apply for Unemployment Insurance, be denied by them, then file for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance through the CARES Act. I have been waiting for 11 weeks just to be denied, and am still waiting.
People on Kaua‘i and elsewhere are really suffering and scared. I don’t think I’m the only one with difficulty sleeping, headaches, stomach upset and constant anxiety.
We have done everything our government has asked. Why are they abandoning us? Who can live on $1,200 for months?
Leslie Vonbrimer, Lawa‘i
KPD’s Breyer did compliance check with aloha
Kaua‘i Police Department Sgt. K. Breyer is to be commended for exhibiting all the positive qualities which our law-enforcement officers can demonstrate.
He paid me a brief visit at my home in Wailua Homesteads on Tuesday, June 9. I have been on two-week quarantine since arriving on Kaua‘i on June 5.
Breyer wore a mask, but I could tell from his crinkly eyes that he smiled a lot. He stayed outside on the other side of my front screen door, was friendly, and reassured when I told him my extraordinarily kind neighbors were grocery shopping and looking out for me, from a safe distance.
We talked about his background, being from Minnesota where George Floyd died, and how one of his goals is to work on police reform.
I commended him and the entire Kaua‘i Police Department for their inclusive and compassionate commitment to our island community.
I invited him and all of KPD to attend our weekly St. Catherine interfaith healing prayers when that aspect of our church ministries resumes.
Police Chief Todd Raybuck agreed with my assessment, and his leadership is also to be commended.
Terri Mansfield, Kapa‘a