Here’s to you, Mr. Ticket Writer!

Someone buy Officer Taguma a beer. I’m serious! The guy deserves a medal–or at least a raise–let alone a refreshingly cold, tasty malt beverage. But then again, I’m not sure that Taguma consumes people food. I have long speculated that he just plugs himself in at night, or possibly sleeps in a solar powered pod.

Why? Because the only way to explain his ability to seemingly be in multiple places at a time would be to assume he’s a super-human or android. Pick one.

All joking aside, I’ll be honest and admit that I’ve got great respect for the man. In fact, I don’t think that there’s another public servant on this island that is as dedicated to doing his or her job as Taguma is. 

For example, try parking anywhere in Wailuku with an expired safety sticker and I GUARANTEE that Officer Taguma will do his job and slap a big-fat ticket under your windshield wiper. What? It’s your own damn fault. 

And we can all bitch, moan and send text message warnings of Taguma’s current location to our friends, but can we actually accuse him of not doing a good job? I don’t think so. Plus, name another Maui police officer that has his very own bumper sticker.

I see Taguma several times a day because I work in Wailuku and park in the municipal parking lot. Every hour, he drives his Cushman through the lot and chalks tires. Every two hours I stop what I’m doing and move my car so I won’t get a ticket. 

Now and then, tires won’t get chalked (I assume that he’s in court those days) and, since parking is a major bitch in Wailuku, I’ve attempted to leave my car for additional time. I’ve gotten two 60-dollar tickets that way. 

Part of me gets mad–I’m working for goodness sake!–and the other part of me knows that even though the two-hour parking rule is ridiculous, I broke it and need to own up to the consequences. 

Living on Maui, I hear idle chatter about Taguma pretty regularly. It seems that somebody Iknow is always getting ticketed. Because of this, I’ve heard snarky comments like, “Taguma’s a wife beater” and “Taguma got shot with his own gun,” and to be honest, it kind of gets under my skin. 

Yes, in the 80s Taguma was both accused by then-girlfriend of domestic violence–not cool–and (in an unrelated incident) shot in the abdomen while on duty. And by shot in the abdomen, I mean almost killed. What’s funny about that? 

Taguma’s been a cop for a very long time. In fact, he was with the Honolulu Police Department before he joined MPD. And yes, there’s issues that have come up about his time at HPD, but this column isn’t meant to be a profile on Taguma, merely a salute to–whom I believe to be–the hardest working and most controversial police officer in Maui history. 

So next time Taguma gets you, remember that you’re the one that’s probably at fault and that the guy’s just doing his job. He didn’t make the stupid two hour parking rule, start the Click-It-Or-Ticket campaign (my daughter innocently calls it “Lick-It-Or-Ticket,” which is a whole ‘nother story completely), decide on the speed limit, or tell you that it was a good idea to drink that 40 before heading home.

We’re the lawbreakers. 

Taguma? He’s just one hell of a dedicated cop.

Starr Begley, a self-described grapholgy expert, deems that people who write in ALLCAPS are delusional. MTW