Honolulu Star-Bulletin - Kokua Line

Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Wednesday, May 12, 1999

Officers’ use of
blue lights explained

Question: When and under what conditions are police officers supposed to turn on the blue lights on their vehicles? What about off-duty officers?

Answer: There are two types of blue lights used by police -- those mounted on the rooftop of a vehicle and those mounted on the visors.

Blue, nonflashing, rooftop lights are placed atop vehicles during on-duty hours and are usually turned on when it's dark, said Honolulu Police Department spokeswoman Jean Motoyama.

Exceptions include when officers are responding to "in-progress" cases or conducting surveillance, where the blue light might tip off suspects, she said.

Flashing or revolving blue lights are turned on when officers are responding to an emergency, while stopped or parked at the scene of a traffic accident, during any traffic violation stop, or while otherwise stopped or parked on a major thoroughfare, Motoyama said.

When they are off duty, officers are supposed to remove rooftop lights, she said.

Visor-mounted lights are used only when an officer is on duty and only in conjunction with a siren, Motoyama said. That means only in response to emergencies, such as when there is reason to believe that a delay in responding may result in death; when police are called out because of a natural disaster or civil disturbance; when a suspect may escape or evidence may be destroyed in a drug case; or to apprehend a suspect who has just committed a violent crime.

"The visor-mounted blue light is not to be used for routine traffic stops," she said.


Q: Do you have any information about a computer school for senior citizens?

A: The Kuwili Technology Center in Iwilei (521-7422) offers a free two-hour workshop called "Senior Connections," a one-time only Internet workshop held the first and third Wednesday of the month.

If you're still interested, "PC Seniors" is held Tuesday and Thursday mornings for one month, touching on the Internet, word processing and spreadsheets. Cost: $56.

Both the free workshop and "PC Seniors" are designed for people with little or no experience, said center manager Debra Fowler.

The Kuwili Technology Center is at 418 Kuwili St., in a building owned by the Weinberg Foundation. The building houses several nonprofit agencies.

"We service not only people in the community at large, but also clientele of the nonprofits in house here," Fowler said.

Another possibility: the SeniorNet club offers workshops through the Office of Continuing Education at Honolulu Community College. Call 845-9296 for information.



To Kevin Hue for moving my vehicle to the shoulder through bumper-to-bumper traffic when it stalled in the center lane near the Kinau Street exit on April 13. -- Katherine Higa



To two rude soldiers in uniform in a black Ford truck. On April 26 I went to Tripler Hospital. I put my blinker on and was waiting, with a 4-year-old and 8-month-old, for more than five minutes for a parking spot (a woman was putting her infant in the car), when the truck almost hit me as it flew into the stall. The soldiers then gave me the "bird" and laughed. When I told them I had been waiting, the driver said I was too slow and that I should lose weight and walk. Is this how the military is training their soldiers in aloha spirit? -- Barbers Point.

Need help with problems? Call Kokua Line at 525-8686,
fax 525-6711, or write to P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802.
Email to kokualine@starbulletin.com

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