Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Wednesday, June 27, 2001

Outside firm handles
law enforcement gifts

Question: I just received a request for a contribution from the Hawaii State Sheriffs Association. They wanted a contribution to train dogs. Is this a state organization, and is it legitimate?

Answer: The Hawaii State Sheriffs Association is a legitimate, nonprofit organization of business men and women that was established in 1984 to assist law enforcement, said Sidney Hayakawa, deputy director of the state Department of Public Health's Law Enforcement Division, which includes the sheriffs.

But the association is not part of state government.

Until last year, the association did its own fund-raising, Hayakawa said.

Then it decided to enter into a contract with Aloha Productions, a for-profit telemarketing company, which has been making calls to solicit donations for the association, he said.

Hayakawa acknowledged confusion over who actually is making the calls. Part of the problem is that people receiving the calls hear the word "sheriffs" and assume the sheriffs are making the calls. They're not.

The telemarketers are supposed to follow an approved script, Hayakawa said.

Still, "we've been having this problem," he said, so "we've been telling (the telemarketers) that you stick to the script and you make sure that you tell the caller that you're not from law enforcement, you're not representing the sheriffs and you're representing a nonprofit organization and you're soliciting donations to help law enforcement."

The telemarketers can cite examples of how money will be spent, such as purchasing dogs or equipment, "but (they) shouldn't be specific."

Q: I live in the Olomana subdivision near the youth correctional facility in Kailua. Early this morning (June 8) a siren, sounding like a car alarm, at the facility rang from at least 3:30 a.m. until 5:30 a.m.

Others in my neighborhood thought that the siren began at about 2 a.m. I called 911 to report the noise about 15 minutes later when the siren was still sounding. Kailua police told me that it was not a car alarm, but rather a burglar alarm at Olomana School. Kailua police reported that someone "was on the way down to turn it off." This was an excruciating way to begin the day. What will the correctional facility do to prevent the recurrence? Can you look into this situation?

A: It was a fire alarm that malfunctioned at Olomana School, which is an alternative school under the Department of Education and separate from the youth correctional facility.

Olomana School Principal Estelle Wong apologized to you and other neighbors for the disturbance. "I can understand and appreciate their concerns," she said.

She explained that the Fire Department apparently did respond, but the switch to turn off the alarm was in a locked office. When she finally was called about the problem, it was after 4:30 a.m.

The system was checked and "I couldn't find any mechanical explanation for the malfunction," she said. This was the first time this has happened, she added, and "we hopefully have corrected whatever (the problem) was."

Got a question or complaint?
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Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210,
Honolulu 96813. As many as possible will be answered.
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