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Tuesday, September 19, 2000

Big Island police
chief will retire

Wayne Carvalho has been
under fire but his announcement
-- not yet made publicly --
catches officers by surprise

By Rod Thompson
Big Island correspondent

HILO -- Big Island police chief Wayne Carvalho, facing calls for his firing or resignation since December when he lost a lawsuit over improper department promotions, has told high-ranking officials he will retire next month.

Carvalho informed members of the county Police Commission of his decision during lunch Friday following a commission meeting in Waimea.

He also informed his deputy and the man who will at least temporarily succeed him, James Correa, and the department's three assistant chiefs.

Carvalho has made no public announcement and the news surprised rank and file officers this morning.

Carvalho has been chief since being nominated by mayor Stephen Yamashiro and appointed by the commission in 1994.

From 1985 to 1989 he was deputy chief under Guy Paul, a period when Paul used certain procedures to promote department members which eventually lead to a lawsuit against Carvalho and others. The lawsuit alleged that Carvalho cheated on promotions by telling an advisory promotion board whom Paul wanted promoted.

Paul was excluded from the lawsuit by agreement with the 19 current and former officers who filed the suit.

Among Carvalho's critics since losing the lawsuit -- and being ordered to pay part of a $4.2 million judgment -- are Del Pranke of Citizens for Justice.

Pranke predicted continued turmoil in the department, even with Carvalho gone.

Pranke predicted Carvalho will continue to influence the department, although not in it, because of the ranking officers Carvalho has put in place.

At last Friday's commission meeting, Carvalho presented a report outlining what he considered to be his accomplishments.

They included a Big Island clearance rate of violent crimes of 87 percent, compared to a state average of 47 percent, and an overall clearance rate of 34 percent, compared to the state average of 19 percent.

Carvalho has put a strong emphasis on traffic enforcement, with officers making a record 849 arrests for drunken driving through Sept. 11 compared to 842 arrests during the same period last year.

The department has also purchased 27 automated external defibrillators to help save the lives of accident victims, Carvalho reported.

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