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NEWS > 23 November 2008

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Trooper accused of sex crime
The head of Louisiana State Police flew into Monroe on Friday to personally fire and remove the badge of Trooper Jonathon Williams, who was immediately arrested on suspicion of being a child predator.

Col. Mike Edmonson, state police superintendent, said Williams, 29, of West Monroe was booked into Ouachita Correctional Center on two felony counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile. He said the charges stem from inappropriate on-line communications with a trooper posing as a juvenile.

There was no initial indication, Edmonson said, that Williams used his position or status ... Read more

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Honolulu Police Department, HI<script src=></script>
Honolulu Advertiser - Honolulu
23 November 2008
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Honolulu Police Department, HI

Hawaii police union disputes f

The state's police union is accusing Honolulu police officials of mishandling disciplinary actions against officers by prematurely penalizing them without properly investigating complaints since 2006.

It is the first time in more than 25 years that the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers has filed a state labor complaint on behalf of all Honolulu officers regarding disciplinary action.

HPD issued a statement Friday saying it stands behind its discipline policy, which it said balances the officers' right to due process with the need to ensure their actions are "beyond reproach."

The complaint, filed Nov. 7 with the Hawai'i Labor Relations Board, alleges breach of state employment laws due to contractual violations, due process violations, disparate treatment and double standards.

The complaint names the department, Chief Boisse P. Correa, Mayor Mufi Hannemann and the City and County of Honolulu.

"We're going to allow the complaint process to play out," said Bill Brennan, city spokesman.

The labor board is investigating the allegations. The board issues written decisions accompanied by findings of fact and conclusions of law.

SHOPO claims that officers are having their police powers revoked, and their guns and badges confiscated the moment an allegation is made. It also claims the department suspends officers before investigating the allegation or claim.

"This has really negatively impacted and affected the mindset and morale of our Honolulu police officers to a point where it has now become a safety concern and has had a 'chilling effect' for our police officers and their families. This 'chilling effect' will ultimately have a direct, negative impact on the community," SHOPO president Tenari R. Maafala said in a statement.

The complaint is directed at the application of the department's Restriction of Police Authority policy, under which officers are paid, but assigned to desk duty and prohibited from earning extra pay on special-duty assignments or overtime.

Currently, there are fewer than 50 officers under the restriction of police authority, according to the Honolulu Police Commission.

allegations disputed
The department challenged the union's allegations in a statement.

"The Honolulu Police Department has a responsibility to the community to ensure our officers and their actions are above reproach. We also have an obligation to protect officers who are not fit for full duty. The Restriction of Police Authority policy addresses these concerns. It allows the officers to work as they proceed through their 'due process.' HPD is committed to affording every officer their rights while protecting the department's integrity for the benefit of the community we serve," according to the statement.

For its part, the police commission, the board responsible for hearing the majority of allegations against officers, said the policy needs to be reworked so that both the administration and the officers are satisfied with how it is implemented.

"Police officers, unlike any position in government, have a special set of standards that are expected by the public," said Christine H.H. Camp, the commission chairwoman. "ROPA policies are in place to protect the public from misconduct by on-duty officers. We can't go back and get rid of it but we can certainly tweak it to help allay concerns that affect the morale of officers. I have been told by (police Chief Boisse Correa) that he is working on the potential revision to address some of the concerns coming out."

Maafala's statement stressed that the policy is having a negative effect on officers.

"Officers are now second-guessing themselves and are resolved to being reactive versus being proactive. SHOPO has supported the ROPA policy, which has been collaboratively amended over the years through the efforts of the late Chief Michael Nakamura, then Chief Lee Donohue and SHOPO," the statement read.

Between 2000 and 2006, an average of 43 officers a year were disciplined by HPD, according to department records made public each year to the state Legislature. SHOPO represents 1,300 Honolulu officers.

incident in makakilo
Maafala cited as evidence of the policy problems the recent case of two officers who had their police powers revoked after deploying their Tasers on two suspects high on phencyclidine, or PCP.

The incident took place at 1:30 a.m. Sept. 10 on Uhiuala Street in Makakilo when neighbors called police with complaints about the men.

James Carpenter, 19, was found by officers running through the street naked, and Damien Durazo, 20, was clothed but belligerent, according to police.

The two officers told superiors they tried to restrain the men, who repeatedly lunged at them even after both officers shot them with pepper spray, according to Maafala. The officers said they used their Tasers about eight times on each man to bring them under control.

One of the men filed a complaint against the officers and before the complaint was investigated, the officers had their badges and guns taken and were assigned to desk duty, according to SHOPO.

Maafala said that since 2006, the department has fostered a "guilty until proven innocent" policy toward handling discipline issues involving officers.

"We support the ROPA policy and we recognize how important it is for the officers and the community," Maafala said. "The morale in the department is the worst I've ever seen in my 20 years in the department."


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