Officer’s warning was misinterpreted
I received an e-mail that says, "Passing on important information from officer Pacheco, HPD, Kapolei Police Station: 'Aloha. Happy New Year. Stay alert and stay safe. Note: Below information is for your safety and your loved ones safety.'" It gives his contact number and tells a story about the importance of calling *77 on your cell phone when in trouble. It says Lauren was driving to visit a friend when an unmarked police car pulled behind her and put his red lights on. She "promptly called *77 on her cell phone to tell the police dispatcher that she would not pull over right away." The guy in the unmarked vehicle turned out to be a convicted rapist. The e-mail goes on to say *77 was a direct link to state troopers and to "Send this to every woman (and person) you know; it may save a life. This applies to ALL 50 states." Have you heard of this?
Answer: *77 does not apply in Hawaii or in most states. The Honolulu Police Department says the number to call is 911.
Officer Antone "Tony" Pacheco is with the Community Policing Team for Kapolei, Kalaeloa, Ewa and Ewa Beach and stationed in Kapolei. Pacheco said someone had e-mailed him the story of Lauren and *77, so he forwarded it to members of neighborhood security watch programs in his areas just to warn them about not stopping for unmarked police vehicles.
"Some people took it to mean that *77 was the main (point) of the story, but it wasn't," he said. His main point was "safety first." Pacheco said he has sent another e-mail to clarify his intent and also to note that *77 is valid only in a couple of states. He also pointed out that official HPD vehicles have blue lights, not red.
A search on the Internet showed that variations of the story have been making the e-mail rounds for years. Snopes.com is a good source for checking on urban legends and rumors, here's their article on on this story which is called "The Knockoff Pullover."
Q: We were on the Big Island Jan. 9-13 and called the lava hot line to find out what the conditions were. However, information was several months old. That was appalling. Why wasn't it updated?
A: Apparently, the conditions might not change that significantly for weeks at a time.
We called 985-6000, the general information line for the National Park Service's Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, on Monday and yesterday.
The recording giving "current" information about the Kilauea Volcano eruption condition was dated last Thursday and said, "The situations remain similar for many weeks. We will update this message when changes occur."
You can also call 967-8862 to get a daily update on Kilauea Volcano provided by the U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.
We called yesterday and got a recording taped that morning.
Got a question or complaint?
Call 529-4773, fax 529-4750, or write to Kokua Line, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu 96813. As many as possible will be answered. E-mail to email@example.com
. See also: Useful phone numbers