Lum wins Kauai’s
top police job

The acting chief already
has revamped the vice squad
and reassigned top aides

LIHUE » The Kauai Police Commission selected K.C. Lum, a 22-year veteran, as Kauai's new police chief yesterday.


K.C. Lum: The self-described "Army brat" joined the department in 1983

The post has been vacant for 11 months since former Chief George Freitas accepted a $200,000 buyout to end a two-year legal battle with the commission.

Lum, 55, has been acting chief since May. The department also has been divided over Lum. He has had strong support from the patrol officers but some opposition from the more traditional senior supervisors.

The Police Commission picked Lum over finalists Lt. Regina Ventura, who heads the vice squad, and Honolulu police Maj. Darryl Perry, a Kauai native.

Lum is a self-described "Army brat" born in Hong Kong and raised on military posts in Japan, Arkansas and Oklahoma. He is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma.

He moved to Kauai in 1976 and joined the Police Department in 1983.

Sine taking over as interim chief, Lum has made many changes in the assignments of top police administrators.

The biggest change has been in the vice squad, which handles all narcotics cases. In the past year, two former vice officers have sued the Police Department claiming the past two chiefs ignored complaints of corruption among vice squad members.

The changes made by Lum have brought results with a soaring number of drug arrests.

Lum acknowledged that in the past, Kauai residents so deeply distrusted the vice squad that they were afraid to come forward with complaints. Lum said the vice squad is now receiving so much information he does not have enough officers to investigate it all.

"They are getting a lot of information," he said.

Among his immediate goals are to increase the number of patrol cars on the road -- 10 one-officer cars per shift -- by adding two more patrols to Lihue and another two to Kapaa, Lum said in an interview yesterday.

Lum is a major supporter of a program allowing officers to take their patrol cars home at night. About 80 percent of Kauai's officers take a car home. Lum would like to increase that to 100 percent.

He said the program has paid off with rapid response by off-duty officers to a series of recent incidents. In addition, the cars are lasting twice as long because officers treat them as personal vehicles.

Lum said many of the changes he wants to make already are under way and have been since he became interim chief in May.

"I took it seriously," he said. "I did the job as though I was already the permanent chief."

County of Kauai


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