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Contact police department if officer appears out of line

By June Watanabe

LAST UPDATED: 1:33 a.m. HST, Sep 12, 2010


» An incorrect phone number to order extra gray carts from the city Refuse Division was given in an earlier version of this column.


QUESTION: At a fruit and vegetable stand at Kekaulike Mall in Chinatown last month, I saw a uniformed policeman loudly ordering a woman at the cash register to show him her ID card. After repeated loud requests, she did nothing, so he then demanded her name and address. She just acted dumb and stared at him, so he asked a passer-by to translate his request, which she did. But the woman still did not comply. I left, but wondered: Are police allowed to ask anyone for their ID or personal information when they haven't even arrested that person for anything? Are they allowed to humiliate people in public like that?

ANSWER: Without more information, including the officer's name or badge number, it's difficult to give a definitive answer or to follow up, said Honolulu Police Department Maj. Marie McCauley, commander of District 1 (Chinatown-Downtown).

McCauley said HPD has received "numerous complaints about mall vendors," including merchandise impeding sidewalks, food being prepared on sidewalks and trash.

It's possible the officer was trying to talk to and/or issue a citation to the vendor, she said. "While some vendors are cooperative, others are not."

McCauley said officers routinely ask for identification when issuing or attempting to issue a citation.

If you feel that an officer is unprofessional, she said, you could ask to speak to the officer's supervisor or, if you don't want to confront an officer, by calling the district station or 911. Be sure to get the officer's name or badge number.

QUESTION: I live in Manoa and have seen dog walkers put their dog's poop in someone else's trash bin. I don't own a dog, so why should my bin smell from someone else's dog poop? If there is no law, whom do we contact to make it unlawful to use other peoples' trash bin?

ANSWER: There is no such law. You should contact your City Council representative about proposing such legislation.

We answered a similar complaint a few years ago (Kokua Line, May 14, 2006) and was told that the city issues each cart "for the exclusive use of the residents of a particular home."

Dumping poop into someone's trash container is akin to dumping it into his yard, refuse Administrator David Shiraishi told us then.

"It isn't appropriate or neighborly for others to make use of household refuse carts as they sit at the curb for pickup, especially when the waste is gross and malodorous," he said.

QUESTION: I set my trash bin out the night before so I don't miss the pickup. One morning, I found a huge rubbish bag in my bin from someone else and the lid would not close. Will the rubbish truck pick up an overloaded bin? What time does rubbish pickup start?

ANSWER: In line with the previous answer, the neighborly thing for people to do is to ask permission from neighbors if there is excess trash that will not completely fit inside their own cart, said Markus Owens, spokesman for the city Department of Environmental Services.

If the lid cannot close and the refuse driver thinks some of the material will fall out, the driver will not pick up the cart, he said.

Residents who think they need a second gray cart should contact the Refuse Division (768-3200) to start a monitoring process. The process lasts a few months and involves inspectors checking to make sure the resident "shows a need" for a second cart and has no recycling or bulky items in the gray cart.

As for pickup times, Owens said city refuse drivers begin at 6 a.m. Monday through Saturday.

Write to "Kokua Line" at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana, Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or e-mail


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