Indicted Kauai officers surrender
LIHUE » Three police officers indicted on charges of theft and record tampering for a county-paid trip they allegedly turned into a vacation on Maui surrendered at the Kauai police cell block yesterday.
Sgt. Wesley Perreira and officer Channing Tada were released after being processed and posting $4,000 bail. Sgt. Lawrence Stem was released after posting $5,000 bail. Arraignment was set for Aug. 24.
A grand jury indictment accused Perreira, Stem and Tada of using tax dollars to take the trip in September 2005 and then lying about it on records they filed with the Police Department.
They were supposed to be on Maui for a marijuana eradication seminar, but they did not attend class sessions, according to the charges.
The indictment accuses the officers of then "falsifying records to indicate they were ill" during the seminar.
The three officers had been part of a team credited with helping remove record amounts of methamphetamine from Kauai neighborhoods.
Deputy Attorney General Christopher Young declined to comment on the case, and Lt. Roy Asher, assigned to investigate the case, said only, "It's a sad day when officers get indicted."
Perreira and Tada were charged with two counts and Stem with three counts of tampering with a government record, a misdemeanor. Tada and Stem also were charged with two felony theft counts, and Perreira was charged with one count of felony theft and one count of attempted theft.
The charges were the latest problem affecting the island's small force.
Clayton Arinaga, before he became acting police chief, had filed a lawsuit against the department for violations of the Whistleblower Protection Act. Arinaga accused Chief K.C. Lum of suspending him because of his efforts to start an investigation into the three officers.
The three accused officers had been vice officers during the tenure of Lum, who resigned in June. Mayor Bryan Baptiste and the Kauai County Council accused Lum of failing to properly manage the department. Lum claimed discrimination because of his Chinese ancestry.
The Associated Press and Star-Bulletin reporter Tom Finnegan contributed to this report.