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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Wednesday, September 12, 2001

Fund-raising for sheriffs clarified

By Walter Wright
Advertiser Staff Writer

State sheriff's officials have asked fund-raisers for the Hawai'i State Sheriff's Association to make sure their pitchmen are not representing themselves as sheriff's deputies and not promising to buy the state a drug-sniffing dog with the money they raise.

Mary Jean C. Henry, whose for-profit Aloha Productions company puts out Hawaii's Most Wanted magazine and does the fund-raising for the nonprofit Sheriff's Association, says her workers are cautioned against saying they are deputy sheriffs or seeking money for specific items for the state.

She said workers are instructed to tell people that the money sought is to help with unbudgeted items "such as" communications equipment, items for the K-9 unit and various law enforcement programs.

She said she hopes to raise about $75,000 for the association this year, much more than in past years.

O'ahu resident Linda Caldwell complained earlier this month that she was called by a person who identified himself as being with the sheriff's department and only referred to the nonprofit Sheriff's Association when pressed for details.

Caldwell said the caller also told her that he was raising money to buy a new drug-sniffing Belgian Malinois dog for the sheriffs.

Sidney Hayakawa, deputy director of the state Department of Public Safety, said this week his office provided the association with a carefully worded script to use for their solicitations, but still had received some inquiries from the public about the operation.

Hayakawa said the association has helped the sheriff's division buy dogs in the past, and most recently contributed $10,000 for purchase of a piece of electronic communications equipment that linked the division with other law enforcement organizations during the recent Asian Development Bank meetings here.

Items purchased with donations must be designated first by the director of public safety as necessary to the operation, he said.

Hayakawa said the canine unit started as and remains an informal part of the sheriff's division, with some job classification and pay issues still to be resolved, but that it has been endorsed by the administration.

While the division does not need any additional dogs for the canine unit at this time, it welcomes the association's support for other unbudgeted items, Hayakawa said.