Letters 12-30-13


Let’s keep the peace seriously

How I shake my head reading of the lady in Kohala pulled over by the police for “misuse of a seat belt.” An earth-shattering crime if there ever was.

This was yet another Keystone Cop moment, where the police, with their bumbling antics, continually turn our Big Island into “Gilligan’s Island.” They do a good job but the hometown side comes out sometimes and makes for quality entertainment.

Since I stepped off the plane in Hilo in 1969, I have witnessed a parade of pratfalls by the police that would fill a comic book. Some are downright hilarious until you pay the fine.

Not long ago, one Sunday morning, I got in my car in Hilo and groggily drove around the corner to the local convenience store near the Ice Pond for the Sunday paper and a cup of coffee. Upon buying a paper, I pulled out onto Kalanianaole Avenue, I had not gone 50 feet when a Hilo police office jumps from behind a bush by the road in front of me and blows his whistle with his hand out, ordering me to stop. There, he stood in the middle of the street. His hands on his hips.

I thought it was some sort of street theater, but sure enough, it was a real Hilo policeman leaning in my window at 7 a.m., checking my seat belt and telling me to stop at the next bush where another cop was hiding to give me a seat belt ticket.

It hit me that these were grown men, policemen no less, hiding behind bushes by the road, popping out at moving cars. To me, this was funny.

Recently driving along in Kona, I glanced up from the intersection near Firestone to see a police officer hiding behind a tree on the ridge. He looked like a cowboy behind a tree in the cowboy movies. How wrong I was. This movie character was a real Kona policeman radioing to a roadblock in front of West Hawaii Today. Using policeman’s ESP, he detected from 80 yards away that I was “misusing my seat belt.” His psychic abilities cost me $92 for a seat belt ticket.

I do not know how many bank robbers, muggers, drunken drivers and wife-beaters got away while that police officer was hiding behind that tree waiting for me to misuse my seat belt, but I bet it was more than a few.

I recall the little old tourist ladies last year busted on the Kona seawall for sipping a beer, and my own letter about the policeman running stop signs and speeding down the new Kona highway, not to mention the lady in Kohala using up valuable police time investigating her seat belt.

I realize there is not much happening on this island and policemen must find ways to pass the time. But come on people, tighten it up and act professional. We need serious peace officers to keep the peace seriously.

Dennis Gregory

Kona