State briefs for November 26

Honolulu councilman calls on police to reinstate virus units

HONOLULU — Honolulu City Councilman Ron Menor is calling on the city’s police chief to reinstate its coronavirus enforcement unit, which was suspended after allegations that officers abused overtime hour submissions.

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Menor chairs the city’s Legal Affairs Committee. He proposed Monday that Police Chief Susan Ballard should only ban the officers currently under investigation for wrongdoing.

The rest of the officers should continue to enforce coronavirus restrictions around the city, especially during the holiday season, Menor said.

Law enforcement officials suspended the units last Friday after the officials were told in an internal Nov. 10 memo that 59 officers on the coronavirus enforcement team were flagged in an audit for overtime violations.

At least 10 officers logged 200 or more hours of overtime during a five-week period. Records show that two officers recorded more than 300 hours of overtime from Sept. 27-Oct. 31, or about 60 hours of overtime each week.

Eight officers said they worked between 200 and 256 hours of overtime during the five-week period. Another 49 officers logged between 130 and 198 hours of overtime.

The job of ensuring that Honolulu’s residents and tourists are following coronavirus guidelines is now conducted by on-duty patrol officers, who take assignments based on their availability.

1st COVID-19 death reported on Kauai

LIHUE, Kauai — The first coronavirus death on Kauai has been reported.

Mayor Derek Kawakami announced in a statement Monday that an elderly resident of the island with no travel history died.

“It is heartbreaking to report this news, especially as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches this week,” Kawakami said. “As a community, we share in this painful loss together and we extend our sincere prayers, love and aloha to the family and loved ones of this individual.”

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Another Kauai resident died in Arizona earlier this year.

Kauai has had more than 115 confirmed cases since the pandemic began. The island has reported no current hospitalizations.

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