Resolution Introduced to Fund More Police in Puna District

February 20, 2019, 8:28 AM HST
* Updated February 20, 9:41 PM
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Hawai‘i County Councilmember Matt Kaneali‘i-Kleinfelder has introduced a resolution urging the county administration to increase funding for more police in the Puna District. The resolution is expected to appear on the committee agenda on March 12, 2019, in Hilo.

One of the top priorities for Councilmember Kaneali‘i-Kleinfelder in addition to lava recovery for his constituents is addressing the steady requests for additional police presence in Puna.

“We are all aware that the population of Puna has been steadily growing and we need our law enforcement to be able to keep pace with the issues that come with such growth,” said Kaneali‘i-Kleinfelder.

His first resolution comes seven months after the passing of a Puna patrol officer who was fatally injured in July at a high-risk traffic stop in Mountain View.

The Hawai‘i Police Department reports a 117% increase in calls for service in Puna in the last decade and an increase in violent crimes including officer-involved shootings. Often, patrol officers have to travel great distances that result in longer response times for non-emergency calls as dispatchers prioritize calls in the interest of public safety. Councilmember Kaneali‘i-Kleinfelder hopes that additional police in Puna will help to curb crime overall and also allow for more after-hours patrolling at public parks to deter congregating and criminal activity.

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