CrimeStoppers chief loses police power
Kim Capllonch is under investigation for leaving the scene of a Sept. 23 accident
One of the Honolulu Police Department's most visible officers had her police powers taken away Thursday as part of an investigation into a traffic incident involving herself and a civilian vehicle last month.
Sgt. Kim Capllonch, CrimeStoppers coordinator, turned over her gun and badge to HPD officials as Internal Affairs looked into a Sept. 23 incident when Capllonch struck another car and drove off near King and Kealamakai streets, behind HPD headquarters on South Beretania Street.
However, police union officials said Capllonch did not stop because she was unaware of the impact, as were the three other passengers in her police-subsidized sport utility vehicle.
"She didn't think there was any contact; her passengers didn't think there was any contact," said Detective Alex Garcia, Oahu Chapter chairman for the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers. "Afterwards, when she checked her car, she saw that there was damage and filed a report, and she found that the guy she hit had already made one."
Traffic investigators looked into the incident and said Capllonch did not flee the scene of the collision. However, Garcia said she was given a written reprimand and ordered to attend Emergency Vehicle Operation Course classes, akin to driver's training classes, at the police academy.
Garcia said it was not until media began to question police administration about the incident that Capllonch's police powers were suspended this week.
"The media is only doing their job to inquire, but apparently the department panicked," Garcia said. "They made a mountain out of a molehill instead of standing by the investigation, which exonerated her.
"It's very disillusioning that we don't have the support of the administration when these types of incidents occur."
But police officials said the case was reopened so that Internal Affairs investigators could look into it. As a police officer, officials said, Capllonch is held to a higher standard than a member of the public.
"If she was an average citizen, this case would be over," said HPD spokesman Capt. Frank Fujii, "but because she's a police officer, we're conducting an administrative inquiry to ensure that policies and procedures were not violated.
"The reason for that is to maintain the public trust ... which the public demands and deserves."
Despite having her gun and badge taken away, Capllonch will remain the head of the CrimeStoppers program, which she took over in June. Fujii said because CrimeStoppers duties are mostly administrative and not investigative, Capllonch's day-to-day work with the program should not be affected.
"She doesn't have direct contact with the public," said Fujii. "It's primarily a desk job.
"Removal of police powers does not affect her ability to administer the program."
Capllonch was not available for comment yesterday.