Union wants Kauai chief's resignation
SHOPO's leaders claim the department is beset by low morale and bad management
The president of the state's police union said yesterday that he will not give up on calls for the resignation of Kauai Police Chief K.C. Lum.
Tenari Maafala, who heads the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers, said he is frustrated that Lum has not been removed despite seven months of complaints from union leaders about the chief's leadership of the department.
"We are not giving up. Ultimately, we want the chief removed," Maafala said.
Lum lacks the management skills and leadership needed for the position, Maafala said in a news release Sunday, two days after meeting with Lum before the Kauai Police Commission.
Kauai Mayor Bryan Baptiste will issue a news release today about the union's growing discontent with Lum, according to the Mayor's Office. The office would not confirm or deny a claim by Maafala that Baptiste had asked Lum to resign.
Lum said he did not plan to leave the department, according to the Garden Island newspaper.
"The Police Department is doing good things for the community," Lum said, quoted by the newspaper. "The internal problems we got have nothing to do with community policing."
Officer Bryson Ponce, head of the union's Kauai chapter, also quoted in the Garden Island, said Lum avoided addressing problems at the department when speaking to the commission Friday.
"He was supposed to prepare a speech to the commission and for the public on anything and everything from communications to morale to recruiting and retention," Ponce said, "and he didn't do it."
In November the Kauai County Council authorized an investigation of the Police Department, Lum and the commission amid budget overruns.
The Council also cited low morale and possible lawsuits. The Police Department overspent its budget in 2004 by more than $320,000, mostly in overtime.
Only the Police Commission can fire Lum. The panel is a volunteer board created to provide direct oversight of the chief and to investigate civilian complaints.
The commission appointed Lum, a 22-year veteran at the department, as chief in September 2004. He was one of three finalists to the position left vacant when George Freitas retired in October 2003.