Hawai’i Police Department
Office of the Chief
Harry S. Kubojiri
June 26, 2009
The Hawai’i Police Department has received a $25,000 grant from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to enhance and expand the Police Department’s Bicycle Patrol.
The money will provide training for Bicycle Patrol officers in the areas of cultural awareness, crisis intervention, homelessness and mental illness. It also will fund bicycle safety training and the purchase and maintenance of equipment.
Bicycle Patrol officers now patrol downtown Hilo, Keaukaha and Puna. Those areas include neighborhoods in and around Hawaiian Homelands and parks where large groups of people, including Native Hawaiians, congregate. Long-range plans include patrols in other communities on the island.
The partnership with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs aims to improve the quality of life for people of Hawaiian ancestry, Hawaiian Homeland residents and other members of the community. It will enable police to interact with the Hawaiian community in a more culturally sensitive way, respecting Hawaiian traditions and practices. The goal of the partnership is to increase awareness and provide knowledge and skills for police officers who come into contact with at-risk individuals, particularly those who may suffer from mental illness. The ultimate goal is to lower the number of Native Hawaiians entering the criminal justice system, while still providing a safe environment for communities on the island of Hawai’i .
Police Chief Harry Kubojiri said he is grateful for OHA’s Bicycle Patrol grant. “OHA is giving us an opportunity to expand our services, even as the county faces economic challenges,” he said. “The community has responded favorably to our Bicycle Patrol. Children, especially, love to talk with officers on bicycles. We intend to reach out to them and foster a better relationship.”