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Saturday, May 20, 2000

Stress could cause
Big Isle police to ‘go
postal,’ one says

By Rod Thompson


KEAUHOU, Hawaii -- Stresses from serving under a police chief tainted by a cheating scandal could cause some Big Island officers to "go postal" and become dangerous, an officer told the Hawaii County Police Commission yesterday.

In December, Chief Wayne Carvalho lost a lawsuit brought by 19 officers who accused him of cheating on promotions when he was deputy chief in the 1980s.

Carvalho is appealing the case and has said he will not resign.

Officer Tanny Cazimero wants the commission to remove Carvalho.

"I believe the chief should be removed today," he said yesterday.

But the words that caught Commissioner Walter Moe's attention were in a letter by Cazimero to a local newspaper. "Something is going to give," Cazimero wrote.

Moe asked if Cazimero meant his own emotions would "give."

Cazimero called that a "fantastic leap."

"Your words frighten me," said Moe, who added Cazimero should surrender his police pistol.

Cazimero then phrased a question that Moe seemed groping to ask. "Cazimero, are you about to go postal because you are a disgruntled worker?"

Answering his own question, Cazimero said, "I think you should show more concern that 380-something police officers may go postal. That is frightening even for me."

After the meeting, Cazimero clarified that he didn't want to create panic. "There's no cause for alarm," he said.

But he referred to recent actions by police officers, such as Sean Kobayashi, on leave from the department, awaiting trial on a charge that he threatened to kill his girlfriend.

Stresses in the department can create such behavior, Cazimero said. He says he is stressed by a seven-day suspension that he calls retaliation for filing a complaint against Carvalho.

Cazimero was generally supported by the public at the meeting.

"I think Mr. Cazimero has become a folk hero on this island," said Marshall Blann.

Jack Brunton, who said he spent 22 years in public safety including a period as chief of police at the University of Idaho, said it is "unbelievable" Carvalho remains in office. Subordinates have no respect for a superior in Carvalho's position, he said.

But former Washington state Sen. Ray Moore said the lawsuit against Carvalho was "Draconian, way beyond the limit."

"Until (the appeal in) the case is finished, the chief should remain right where he is," Moore said.

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