HONOLULU (KHON2) — Two officer-involved shootings in a week is a disturbing sight for Hawaii Island officials. Recent crime has Hawaii County officials calling for change and more resources for Hawaii police.
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“This is rare, this is definitely an anomaly for Hilo. Sleepy little town of Hilo,” said Sue Lee Loy, Hawaii County councilmember.
Hawaii criminologist Meda Chesney-Lind says the size of the island can mount a challenge for police.
” the distances and the areas that they have to cover and the challenge of finding out what’s going on,” said Chesney-Lind. “The social isolation means that people can be in really bad shape, and no one would necessarily know about.”
The Hawaii County Council is stepping in to change that.
“We need to engage better in a more systematic and thoughtful way we really want our community be heard,” said Lee Loy.
During the latest budgeting process, the Hawaii County Council shuffled $65,000 into Hawaii police starting July 1. That money will award each district an additional 200 hours of community policing.
“We really believe that if we do a lot more upstream, putting money upfront where there is more of a connection to our community policing officers, that we could actually identify areas quicker, because there is a better relationship between our officers and the communities that they represent,” said Lee Loy.
Officials said, this is much-needed money for the Department to continue to serve and protect the community.
“We’ve seen from our officers here has been that they have been acting in a very professional manner and trying to save peoples lives and unfortunately they’ve been put in these situations where they had to do something that really no officer wants to do,” said Mayor Roth.
“I think now’s the time that we really take on the kuleana now of checking on each other, checking on our friends, checking on our families, our neighbors, and just be gentle reminders that we’re all here for one another going through a lot,” said Lee Loy.