PHOTOS: New Two-Level Police Station Opens in Kīhei
By Wendy Osher
A blessing was held on Thursday morning for the new Kīhei Police Station, which houses a detective bureau, a criminal investigation division, a training division, uniform services and executive offices.
The new station, located at 2201 Piʻilani Highway, will accommodate an estimated 56 authorized personnel that are assigned the facility, according to Tivoli Faaumu, commanding officer of the new Kīhei Station.
According to Faaumu, the staffing includes Kīhei Patrol officers, 21 recruits with the Training Academy, four detectives, four individuals with the plans/training/records division, and one lieutenant.
The station will also house the MPD’s Bearcat armored vehicle, and has the ability to accommodate both vice and juvenile personnel.
Many credited 33-year police veteran and Assistant Chief Larry Hudson with the vision of carrying the station through to fruition.
“Assistant Chief Hudson managed this enormous project and kept his vow to get the job done,” said Maui police Chief Gary Yabuta. “As we dedicate this building, we reflect on how far we’ve come, and how much more we will continue to grow.”
Department officials say this will be Hudson’s final large-scale project before he retires at the end of the month. He was also involved in the plans and development of the Lānaʻi Station, the Hāna Officer’s Cottage, and the Forensic Facility in Wailuku, as well as the establishment of the department’s Peer Support Unit in the early 90s.
“The only thing that you’re doing wrong is retiring,” said Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa of AC Hudson. “We are thankful we have people and facilities that we can depend on,” he said.
Today’s blessing and dedication event comes exactly two years after the initial ground-breaking for the station, which took place in 2011.
Mayor Alan Arakawa called the new station a “monumental project,” and refuted complaints that it’s too big. “Anyone who believes that Kīhei will not grow is living in a box in a different world.”
“When there is a catastrophic situation in the community, everyone looks to the officers,” said Arakawa, who described the new facility as a “backbone of stability” and a comforting place “where people will know someone will be there when they need help.”
Council Chair Gladys Baisa, who was the Land Use Chair when the project was going through entitlements for land; and a member of the budget and finance committee that reviewed the plans said she is “impressed” with the final product.
Hudson joked about the challenges of the federal loan and procurement process, likening it to ice cream and kimchi. He said the project took many hands and took time to thank the many individuals involved in the process.
Many of the dignitaries described a growing South Maui community that has changed significantly over the past 30 years from a time when there were only two officers and no police station, and very few buildings.
“If you’ve ever seen the pre-existing station to this one, you have to wonder how they tolerated it for as long as they have,” said Mayor Arakawa.
The old station is located in a small 2,400 square foot space in the Kihei Town Center. County officials have said that much of the department’s operations were incompatible with the surrounding commercial shopping center use, and space at the facility was inadequate to accommodate the 33 police personnel assigned to the district in 2009.
Officials say the new two-story station accommodates the functional aspects of the district, including office, meeting, and training areas, holding cells, and record storage.
***More photos are available on our Maui Now Facebook page.