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Ruling stuns police panel, prosecutor

By Rosemarie Bernardo

POSTED:



A court ruling that the Kauai County mayor has the power to suspend or discipline the police chief came as a surprise to some officials on the Garden Island.

The ruling was on a lawsuit filed by the Kauai Police Commission in July, which wanted the Fifth Circuit Court to rule that the County Charter grants the sole authority to suspend or discipline the police chief to the Police Commission.

Citing the Kauai County Charter relating to the mayor's powers and duties, Circuit Court Judge Randal Valen­ci­ano ruled Tuesday that "the mayor, as chief executive officer of the County of Kauai, does have the power to: except as otherwise provided, exercise direct supervision over all departments."

In a news release, Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. said, "We are pleased that the court has confirmed our position and now look forward to moving beyond this to focus on the many important matters that face the county."

In February, Carvalho placed Police Chief Darryl Perry on leave as the county investigated an employee complaint alleging a hostile work environment at the Police Department. In March, Carvalho allowed Perry to return to work.

Ernest Kanekoa Jr., chairman of the Police Commission, said commissioners were surprised by Valenciano's ruling. "We're not so pleased with it," he said.

"That's how the judge ruled, and we have to abide by it," he said.

The charter states the commission can hire or terminate the police chief, Kane­koa said, adding the questionable area is whether the commission can discipline or suspend the police chief.

It's unknown at this time whether the commission will appeal Valen­ci­ano's ruling.

Perry would not comment at this time.

Deputy Prosecutor Jake Dela­plane said he was also surprised by the ruling. "From my reading of the charter and a lot of respected attorneys' reading of the charter, it appears the Police Commission has the authority to remove, suspend or discipline the police chief."

Delaplane said he thinks the county's charter is clear. "When the mayor removed the police chief by suspending him indefinitely, I believe he violated the charter," he said. "I would hope that the counsel for the Police Commission appeals this ruling because of the ramifications that a ruling like this would have in our county and statewide."






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MalamaKaAina wrote:
Nothing new here folks, move along.
on November 3,2012 | 02:48AM
cojef wrote:
Could the court err? You bet it can. However, the Mayor is an elected position whereas, the Police Commission is appointed position and therein lies the crux of the problem. Would favor the Mayor as he represents the will of the electorate.
on November 3,2012 | 06:21AM
Spikette wrote:
The charter intent was to remove political pressure or politics from certain department, thus having the commission appoint and remove the administrators in those department. With the court ruling now the mayor has broad powers to influence those department heads and their operations.
on November 3,2012 | 07:22AM
Bdpapa wrote:
Yup, politics in the Police Department. I guess he wants to take care of his friends and relatives.
on November 3,2012 | 02:52PM
Waterman2 wrote:
Yup. If the mayor wants to make all the police turn their back on enforcing various laws, ie marijuana , he has the defacto power by simply indicating to the chief that he favors such and such.....if the chief ignores it he can be suspended. Why do we have a chief of police again ?
on November 3,2012 | 08:36AM
Waterman2 wrote:
In fact, why do we have laws?
on November 3,2012 | 08:37AM
mongoosa wrote:
Why do we have a police commission? Look who's on it?
on November 3,2012 | 09:06AM
kainalu wrote:
Remove the Police Commission, have the Mayor appoint the Police Chief, and deal with a political hack as your primary civil servant. Meanwhile, the current Police Chief is a lame duck. The ruling essentially says that all his subordinates work for the mayor, aka, take their orders from him.
on November 3,2012 | 10:31AM
Bdpapa wrote:
To Chief Perry: Come work, do nothing and wait for the Mayor to tell you what to do. No need patrols, uniforms are optional, drinking and gambling allowed on duty. If he wants control give it to him.
on November 3,2012 | 02:55PM
2_centz wrote:
On the neighbor islands and I mean all of em, has a tendency to do what they want and not follow the written law. Common Sense on all islands are different for each island or east or west north or south. Tendency for neighbor island people to be cliqueish likeing only people of their ohana, or area and not likeing outsiders. The confusing thing is then they all send their children to Oahu or the mainland for school or job and they bring along with them their prejudices from where they come. The Mayor of Kauai has to be the #1 overseer of Kauai, to stop personal goal as opposed to Kauai police department goals for whatever was the problem there.
on November 4,2012 | 08:51AM
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