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Friday, February 2, 2001

New Big Isle police
chief vows to earn
residents’ trust

By Rod Thompson

HILO -- Shortly before formal swearing-in ceremonies for new Hawaii County Police Chief James Correa, Mayor Harry Kim told Correa that government still needs to win the trust of the people.

"We can do it, Harry," Correa answered.

County officials held formal ceremonies for Correa yesterday, making him the county's eighth police chief since the department was established in 1943. Correa had already been sworn in by Kim without fanfare in a mini-ceremony last week.

The event took place against the backdrop of alleged improprieties by the county's seventh chief, Wayne Carvalho, during the 1980s when Carvalho was deputy chief under then-Chief Guy Paul.

In December 1999, a jury decided in a lawsuit against Carvalho and others that Carvalho gave unfair assistance to favored candidates for promotion. Carvalho, who has always denied the accusation, retired in October.

Last week, after more than a year of inaction, Judge Riki May Amano signed a judgment in the lawsuit. That finally allows Carvalho to appeal, which he has always said he would do.

Kim clearly had the case in mind when he told the public at Correa's swearing-in that he had frozen all hiring and promotions in the police department. The freeze will remain until Correa creates a new "merit system" of promotions approved by the county's Civil Service Department, Kim said. Correa was never linked to the cheating scandal.

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