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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, September 6, 2002

Police to be assigned to Big Island, Kaua'i schools

By Curtis Lum
Advertiser Staff Writer

The Kaua'i and Hawai'i county police departments have been awarded $1.13 million in federal grants to hire nine police officers to work in public schools.

The money is from the U.S. Department of Justice's COPS in Schools program that provides $125,000 for the salary and benefits of each new officer over a three-year period. The grant also will pay for school safety training for the officer and a school administrator.

The Big Island police department was awarded $750,000 to hire six full-time officers, while Kaua'i will receive $375,000 for three officers.

The duties of the officers will include teaching crime prevention and substance abuse classes, serving as coaches, monitoring and counseling troubled students, and assisting in the development of school policies that deal with crime and school safety.

Hawai'i County police Assistant Chief Thomas Hickcox said yesterday that he did not know which schools will be getting the officers. But he said the school resource officers will likely be existing officers because it takes 18 months for a police recruit to be trained.

Hickcox said it will be important to place experienced officers in the program because their duties "will run the gamut."

"The benefits are endless — to have an officer on campus to address immediate concerns of the school and of the students and of the community," Hickcox said.

He said the grant is for just three years, but the department will ask the county to make the positions permanent.