State briefs for June 30

Honolulu police chief opposes some reforms for department

HONOLULU (AP) — The Honolulu police chief does not agree with all of the proposed changes expected to pass in upcoming state Legislature police reform bills, she said.

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Chief Susan Ballard said she does not believe all the measures required to comply with a presidential executive order are necessary at the Honolulu Police Department, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Sunday.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order June 16 that he said would encourage better police practices. Trump’s order would establish a database tracking police officers with excessive use-of-force complaints in their records.

Calls for police reform are “a knee-jerk reaction for things that are going on on the mainland,” Ballard said during a June 17 meeting with the Honolulu Police Commission.

Ballard said she does not favor measures such as requiring the naming of officers who are suspended or terminated for misdeeds.

“We’re not perfect, but when we realize our mistakes we’re going to take action,” Ballard said. “The nation is behind, but can you at least leave the 50th state alone? We’re kind of doing OK here.”

Plan to reopen Maui highway draws resident concerns

WAILUKU, Maui (AP) — A Hawaii state plan to reopen a Maui highway to motorists from the general public has caused concern among residents who want to protect the rural area from the coronavirus.

The state Department of Transportation announced it would reopen Hana Highway to all motorists beginning Wednesday.

The east Maui access road has been blocked to nonresidents since March 18 over concerns about COVID-19 spreading to communities with limited health care facilities.

About 7,000 residents received placards allowing passage through roadblocks overseen by Hawaii National Guard troops.

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The transportation department closed the highway March 18, citing the need for construction projects, although Democratic Gov. David Ige did not mention construction when he barred travel on the road to everyone except residents, first responders and delivery vehicles.

Some area residents said they have mixed feelings over opening east Maui to outsiders while national coronavirus case numbers continue to grow.

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