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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, March 23, 2006

Sheriffs can ticket motorists

By Robbie Dingeman
Advertiser Columnist

Q. On the H-1 Freeway, 'ewa-bound, near the Fort Shafter off-ramp, I recently saw a sheriff's car turn on its blue-and-red lights and pull over a vehicle. Maybe it was a warrant issue because I didn't think that the state sheriffs could give a traffic citation on a public freeway.

A. Although it's more common for Honolulu Police Department officers to give traffic citations, state Sheriff John Lum said sheriffs do have the authority to give traffic citations.

Generally, the sworn officers from the sheriff's office handle law enforcement at the airport, security of courtrooms, prisoner transfers, protecting the governor and the state Capitol and serving warrants, he said.

However, Lum said they can and do sometimes issue traffic citations. "It would be inappropriate if they didn't enforce a violation that occurred right in front of them," he said. He said they also can issue a warning.

But enforcing traffic laws is not a major part of their job, he said. "We don't have anyone on a permanent assignment to do those things," Lum said.

Q. Can I put my newspapers and brown paper into the green waste collections for the city pickup? I thought that those kinds of paper are good for mulch.

A. You raise an interesting question, said city recycling coordinator Suzanne Jones. But at this time, the answer is no, the city is asking only for green waste: grass, clippings, branches, tree stumps, etc.

"The program is designed to collect and process green waste only, but your reader is correct that paper is compost-able as well," Jones said.

Jones said there is a possibility that newspaper and brown paper could be added to the list of what's acceptable for green waste pickup.

Q. When the state closes roads overnight, why don't they fix all the potholes at the same time?

A. State Transportation Department spokesman Scott Ishikawa said sometimes the crews are able to use the already scheduled road closures to fix potholes and handle other short-term problems. But other times, that's not practical because more permanent fixes are needed and they involve concrete that requires longer curing times, he said.

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