Resident to KPD: Substation opportunity to build better relationship with locals

LIHU‘E — The proposed Kapa‘a police substation should include Hawaiian heritage in its design, an island resident told the Kaua‘i Police Commission on Friday.

The building slated for the Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital campus, east of the Kawaihau and Iwaena roads juncture, has drawn a mixed response from community members. Opponents fear it will generate noise, traffic and crime in a residential neighborhood, while the Kaua‘i Police Department maintains it is the only feasible site for a much-needed base in the Kawaihau district.

Kamealoha Smith, an educator from an Anahola family, has no issue with the proposed substation location, but believes honoring the site’s past can improve the plan.

“As a part of the discussion, we could figure out how to incorporate some na me‘a Hawai‘i, some of that traditional knowledge, into the building,” Smith explained during public testimony.

“But it’s not just about recognizing history. It’s not just about acknowledging that there were people, taro patches and villages there, and sacred sites. It’s also, I think, a way to deter negative interactions between law enforcement and Hawaiian people and others.”

Smith claimed police frequently visited his childhood home because his father was a Hawaiian political activist.

Now Smith is offering to construct an ahu, or Hawaiian altar, at the substation.

“Something like that would start things off in a real-positive manner,” he said. “I think that would be really, really wonderful in terms of forging new and better relationships.”

Police commissioners and Kaua‘i Police Department Chief Todd Raybuck expressed enthusiasm for Smith’s proposal.

Raybuck also thanked residents who participated in the extended public-comment period for the substation’s draft environmental assessment, which closed Sept. 23.

“I think it’s important for us to hear from everyone that lives in that area, and then find ways that we can mitigate the concerns that are brought forward by the community and yet provide an increase of availability and presence for our officers to serve that community,” Raybuck said.

Traffic citations, activity along the Kapa‘a portion of the Ke Ala Hele Makalae multi-use path, and the highs and lows of police recruitment, were discussed Friday as well.

Officers wrote nearly 300 tickets in August, according to Raybuck, who attributed the high number of citations to vigorous traffic-enforcement operations.

Meanwhile, KPD personnel met with Coconut Coast property owners and patrolled the nearby bike path, which Raybuck described as a longstanding problem area.

“It’s an area removed from daily patrol activities and allows people to, unfortunately, engage in some activities that we would like to see addressed,” he said.

KPD has also lost four prospective officers. Two members of an upcoming recruit class withdrew due to a change in conditions of employment, while another two left recruit school due to family emergencies, according to Raybuck.

However, 17 recruit-school graduates took written exams on Saturday.

“Hopefully, that will help us with some of the tragic losses in staffing that we’ve just recently gotten,” the chief said.


Scott Yunker, general assignment reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or

  1. Trust KPD September 26, 2021 1:27 am Reply

    Who trusts kpd when they have officers cheat to get promoted and pass exams with no discipline? All those involved cannot be trusted to testify in court.

    Who can trust kpd when they covered up for the Kauai serial killer?

    Who can trust kpd when a former officer and a prosecutor set up an execution of a witness?

    Who can trust kpd when they cyber stalk and leak information to criminals to retaliate for kpd?

    Who can trust kpd when they have set up false arrests, ambushes, and put bounties in people who have exposed public corruption?

    Who can trust kpd when they ran over a boy and had an expert witness testify that going over 90 mph is the same as going 25 mph?

    Who will trust kpd when they sexually assault or marry their step daughters?

    Who will trust kpd when former officer murders ex girlfriend and kpd top brass covers up the murder?

    Who will trust kpd?

  2. kimo September 26, 2021 7:29 am Reply

    Mahalo for the increased traffic enforcement in Kapaa. Anything that makes our roads safer is greatly appreciated. Mahalo.

    1. Joe Public September 26, 2021 11:29 am Reply

      300 cites a! Are u serious? You have 30 officer per district X 3 districts = 90 officers, u have a traffic unit with at least 6, and your bragging about 300 cites a month? I wouldn’t be, shows your morale and drive of the officers is very low.

  3. Will G September 26, 2021 2:59 pm Reply

    No need spend millions to build
    up there. Stay where they are.

  4. Jjjames September 26, 2021 3:38 pm Reply

    Imagine how long it’ll take a cop to get to Wailua homesteads from Kapahi. Or even to the houselots. There’s only one way to get there. Through the Kapaa traffic.
    How many residents live in Wailua homesteads and houselots, compared to Kapahi?
    It’s nice that the chief wants comments from the residents in that area, but are they paying for the substation? Or are all the taxpayers paying for it?
    Seems to me, the so called “ coconut coast” would me a much more centralized location, and there’s lots of open land there.
    But … I guess it’s too late to comment and apply “common sense”.

  5. Kapahi kupuna September 27, 2021 6:32 pm Reply

    Maybe they should consider the area where they were planning to build the HoKua place residential area. Didn’t it already undergo extensive vetting for the EIS process? Wouldn’t it meet all the criteria of a feasible location being out of the tsunami zone? It would definitely be a good central location for access to the homesteads and the houselots with close bypass access. Plus perfect being located by the middle school, not an already built up residential area that already gets choke noise from the busy road, light and noise pollution from the ER at Mahelona. Get enough critters already running around that area, don’t make it worse by placing the substation there.

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