Kauai chief sets aggressive goals
Darryl Perry will take over as police chief of the Kauai Police Department today, bringing hopes of improving the department by winning national accreditation.
Perry, a 57-year-old Mililani resident, will be sworn in at 3:30 p.m. at the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall.
He follows three consecutive chiefs who have retired amid controversy since 1995.
Mayor Bryan Baptiste said in an e-mail that he hopes to establish a good relationship with Perry.
"I think everyone's optimistic that (Perry) will lead the department in the right direction," he said.
Perry, a Kauai police officer in the 1970s, said he plans to begin his three-year contract by meeting with the officers who "have to know who I am and what I stand for" before the department can move forward.
He also plans to start the process for accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, an organization that maintains a national standard of practices for law enforcement agencies. The Honolulu and Maui police departments have been accredited by CALEA.
Perry said accreditation would take at least three years and require an internal audit, but that milestone eventually would reduce liabilities for the department and raise morale.
In the short term, Perry will focus on stepping up recruitment to fill about 20 vacancies at the roughly 175-member department. He hopes to fill half of the vacancies within a year.
"A lot of people will see there's a change on the horizon, and they will want to be part of this change," he said.
Former Chief George Freitas said the department's small size could pose a challenge for Perry, a former major at the Honolulu Police Department who retired in 2002 after 22 years.
"It's a tough place to manage a police department," Freitas said, adding that many people take issues personally because the community is small. "It's a harder area to disagree with people."
But Perry, who was born on Kauai and graduated from Kauai High School, said the small size is a benefit for officers because they can be more effective in the community.
"It boils down to communication, reaching middle ground and compromise," Perry said. "It's not about us. It's about the community and being fair."
Police Commission Chairman Russell Grady said Perry will help overcome morale problems at the department.
"We feel that his leadership ability is one of his strong points," Grady said. "That is what the Kauai Police Department has been lacking in the past. Because we don't have the continuity of the police chiefs, that alone has caused morale problems in the Police Department."
Freitas resigned in 2004 while under investigation for hindering prosecution but was later cleared of those charges. Perry applied to replace him but was passed over for K.C. Lum, who retired in June 2006 with three years remaining on his contract. Community leaders complained about Lum, citing low morale and a lack of communication and leadership.
Clayton Arinaga has served as acting police chief for the last 16 months.
Perry was selected out of 66 candidates for the job and stood out as someone who is approachable and "listens very well," Grady said.
Since his HPD retirement, Perry worked at the attorney general's office and later as a security manager at First Hawaiian Bank.