Police Commission Hears Testimony on Chief Applicants
By Wendy Osher
The Maui Police Commission accepted public testimony today (Wednesday, April 15, 2009) from those speaking on behalf of applicants for the Chief of Police.
The discussion was the first of two scheduled meetings to be held over the next three weeks. Testimony will also be accepted at a May 6th meeting set for 10 a.m. at the HGEA Conference room at the David Trask Building in Wailuku.
The deadline to apply for the job passed on Monday (April 13, 2009). The post is being vacated by the departure of Police Chief Tom Phillips who retires on June 1st after 33 years with the department.
During today’s meeting, Chief Phillips discussed the budget constraints that he anticipates in the upcoming fiscal year.
“Right now we’re not planning any cuts. We’re hoping to get by on what we have,” said Phillips. If cuts are necessary, the first area to suffer would be prevention. Although effects are hard to measure, Phillips said, the cumulative effect would be “huge over time.”
The visitor oriented policing division is already operating at 50% and there are positions that are going unfilled in other programs, including vacancies for school resource officers.
Officers gave updates on the Criminal Investigation Division, Patrol, Traffic and Communications.
Criminal Investigation Division Update:
Investigation Continues into I.D. of Skeletal Remains: Maui Police continue their investigation of March 17th discovery of human skeletal remains found near Kahului Beach Road. Wailuku Patrol officers were responding to a motor vehicle accident early that morning, when they came upon the remains in shrubbery about 20 yards south of the accident scene. Authorities say the body has yet to be positively identified, but clothing, jewelry and personal effects found at the scene are indicative that the body was that of a female. An initial forensic scene investigation had indicated that the unidentified skeletal remains were at least five years old.
Vice officers recover hundreds of marijuana plants in Haiku and Molokai: Authorities executed unrelated search warrants in Haiku and Molokai last month, recovering hundreds of marijuana plants from indoor operations at both locations. At the Haiku location, police found 230 marijuana plants, and smaller amounts of hashish and processed marijuana. The investigation also led to the discovery of stolen electricity from Maui Electric Co. At the Molokai location, 383 marijuana plants were recovered along with amounts of processed marijuana.
Traffic Division Update:
There were a total of seven fatal traffic accidents on Maui County roads so far this year compared to 5 at the same time last year. In the month of March alone, there were 4 traffic fatalities, two of them involving motorcyclists.
Patrol Division Update:
The Maui Police Department issued Officer of the Month (for March) and Officer of the Quarter (for the first quarter of the year) awards for outstanding service in six districts in Maui County. Officers were recognized for work that ranged from undercover drug stings to assault investigations in Waiuku, Lanai, Hana, Lahaina, Molokai and Kihei.
(By Wendy OSHER © 2009)