Hawaii County Police Awarded Funding for Six New Officers for Rural Areas

The County of Hawai`i has been awarded funding from the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) to hire six additional police officers, Mayor Billy Kenoi announced today.

The COPS grant application process is highly competitive, and the County of Hawai`i was awarded $1,392,336 to cover salaries and benefits for six officers for three years. A total of $243 million was awarded to communities across the nation, according to an announcement by the Department of Justice.

“The six additional positions for the County of Hawai`i will be used to add officers and increase patrols in the Puna District and other rural districts where the populations have been growing, and where the demand for police services has grown,” Mayor Kenoi said. “This will help to protect the public, and make our communities safer. We want to thank the Department of Justice, U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye and our entire Congressional delegation for this assistance.”

Hawai`i County Police Chief Harry Kubojiri said the funding will be used to hire, train and field the officers, who will be deployed to rural areas that have shown the largest increases in calls for service.

“Especially in these difficult economic times, this grant represents an important boost for public safety,” Chief Kubojiri said. “We have asked our officers to do more with less, and they have responded. We have seen an overall decline in reported crimes in the county over the last decade, but there are some areas including Puna that have seen an increase in calls for service. There is much more to be done, and the entire community will benefit from these additional police officers.”

The last increase in the number of police officers in the county was in 2004, when 10 officers were added in Kona, and five were added in Puna, Kubojiri said. The police department now has 432 authorized sworn officer positions, including eight vacant positions.

The U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) today announced more than $243 million in grants awarded nationwide to 238 law enforcement agencies and municipalities for the hiring of new officers and deputies.

The awards were made through the COPS Hiring Program, a competitive grant program that provides funding directly to state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to hire police officers dedicated to addressing specific crime and disorder challenges confronting communities.  The grants provide 100 percent funding for the entry-level salaries and benefits of newly-hired, or rehired, full-time officer positions over a three-year period.

For the 2011 COPS Hiring Program, 2,712 applications were received requesting more than $2 billion and 8,999 positions.  Funding decisions were based on an agency’s commitment to community policing, crime rates, changes in law enforcement budgets, and other local fiscal data (poverty, unemployment, foreclosure rates, etc.).

“Cities across the country are dealing with numerous challenges and we are pleased to be able to assist their public safety efforts,” said COPS Director Bernard Melekian. “Creating and maintaining jobs is a key part of this program.  This funding helps support local departments in their efforts to increase their ranks, enhance their relationship with the community and directly address their public safety concerns.”

The 2011 COPS Hiring Program awards will create or help preserve 1,021 sworn law enforcement positions.  The jobs created, preserved or refilled with COPS Hiring Program funds will advance community policing at the local level and contribute greatly to the quality of life of the citizens in each community.

The COPS Office is a federal agency responsible for advancing community policing nationwide. Since 1995, COPS has awarded over $13 billion to advance community policing, including grants awarded to more than 13,000 state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies to fund the hiring and redeployment of approximately 120,000 officers and to provide a variety of knowledge resource products including publications, training, technical assistance, conferences, and webcasts.

For additional information about the COPS Hiring Program, and to view a list of municipalities that received grants, visit the COPS website at www.cops.usdoj.gov.

Flags Ordered to Fly at Half-Staff in Honor of Former Legislator and Swimming Legend Keo Nakama

In observance of the memory of former state Representative and swimming legend Keo Nakama, Governor Neil Abercrombie today ordered that all U.S. and Hawai’i flags at all State offices and agencies as well as the Hawai’i National Guard are to be flown at half-staff from sunrise until sunset on Friday, September 30, 2011.

Nakama began his legendary swimming career in the Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Irrigation ditches in Pu’unene, Maui as a child. He attended Ohio State University, where he excelled at swimming and baseball, winning Big Ten and National Collegiate Athletic Association titles. During his swim career, he won 27 U.S. National Championships from 100 yards to 1500 meters and set the world record swim for a mile at 20:29. Nakama was the first person to swim completely across the 27-mile Kaiwi Channel from Moloka’i to O’ahu, an accomplishment completed in 15.5 hours.

Nakama also served as a Hawai’i high school swim coach, teacher and athletic director before being elected to the Hawai’i State House of Representatives, where he served for five terms until 1974. Nakama was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1975 and into the Hawai’i Sports Hall of Fame in 1998.

Wordless Wednesday – My Brother Who Used to be a LAPD Officer

My brother just posted the following picture on Facebook from the time that he was a Police officer with the Los Angeles Police Department.

"I remember this happened on Dec. 31, 2004. There was a tour bus picking up people from the house in this picture so that they could go to Las Vegas to celebrate the New Years. So you can imagine what happened next. A tour bus, full of tourists, and all of them seemed to have a camera. I'm sure this photo made its way to one of the "Epic Fail" websites." ~ Kane Meyer