KPD recruit commencement postponed

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Maria Esaki of the Kaua‘i Police Department’s latest recruit class, center, stands with lei presented by Robert Christensen, right, and Storm Po‘omaihealani, left, of the county prosecuting attorney’s office.

LIHU‘E — Thursday morning outside the Kaua‘i Police Department headquarters was clear, with no signs of rain in sight, and the winds whispering through the empty rows in the parking lot.

There were no people around, save two, in the break area. One of them, Robert Christensen, had a lei hanging from his arm, ready for the KPD’s latest recruit class graduation.

“There’s no graduation,” Christensen said. “A bunch of friends got together and we made these lei for one of the graduates. I said I’m going to give the lei, graduation or not.”

The graduation ceremony scheduled to take place on the lawn of KPD was called off in the final minutes leading to the start of the protocol.

“I’m not sure,” Christensen said, breaking to signal to an arriving visitor to KPD headquarters. “I think someone had close contact with someone who was infected.”

Maria Esaki, one of the seven graduates, accepted the lei.

“They called us in the last half hour before graduation,” Esaki said. “I really had to scramble, calling all my relatives and people planning on attending. I’m not even dressed (in uniform). I’m here to get some paperwork done.”

No one was available to answer questions about the possibility of a rescheduled date for the graduation of the seven members of the recruit class.

Esaki is one of those seven whose first tasks as newly-sworn KPD officers will be to help distribute stockings from the Operation: Kupuna Stocking Project 2020 to kupuna residing at the Lihu‘e Gardens Elderly housing complex.

Johnette Chun of the KPD chief’s office announced the project Thursday.

“In the spirit of giving, the Kaua‘i Police Department is partnering with the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney to participate in Operation: Kupuna Stocking Project 2020,” Chun said. “Mahalo in advance for supporting this project, as we all are in need of some holiday cheer, especially our kupuna.”

KPD and the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney invite anyone, including companies and businesses, to purchase a Christmas stocking and fill it with items from their wish list, and other items kupuna might need.

The kupuna wish lists can be picked up in the chief’s office lobby. For those who want to participate but not able to pick up a wish list, a list can be emailed by emailing jchun@kauai.gov or calling 241-1601.

Completed stockings need to be dropped off at the chief’s office by Tuesday, Dec. 22. These will be delivered — contactless and following COVID-19 protocols — to the kupuna by the recruit class in time for Christmas.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

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