Starting very soon, Liquor Control officers will carry Tasers when they visit licensees and conduct inspections. Liquor Control Director Franklyn Silva announced the new policy during the Jan. 8, 2008 Liquor Commission hearing, adding that Mayor Charmaine Tavares has approved money to pay for the Tasers and training. The project awaits final approval from the County Council.
“We’ve sent some people to get Taser training,” Silva told commissioners. “So I’m thinking it’s about time to get Tasers on hand.”
Ironically, Silva’s announcement that LC inspectors will now be armed—albeit with “non-lethal” weapons—came in the middle of a hearing on how peachy the crime situation at Kihei Kalama Village (KKV) has gotten in recent months.
“We’ve seen big improvement,” Maui Police Lieutenant Clarence Kenui told the commissioners. “We appreciate all the licensees have done. Everyone’s been doing a great job.”
LC supervisor Harry Matsuura agreed.
“Basically, there’s been quite a bit of change,” Matsuura said. “Cases have dropped quite a bit.”
Kalama Village has been a preoccupation for the LC since last summer, when Maui PD first went to the Liquor Commission complaining that there were too many bars in such a confined area (there are nine) and asking for restrictions placed on each license requiring that they close at midnight. The Liquor Commission refused, and countered with requests that the MPD step up uniformed visits to the area. Others suggested placing a “paddy wagon” or even a substation in the Village—ideas MPD never seriously considered.
It turned out that, if KKV management, licensees, LC officers and the police were correct, none of that was apparently necessary to quiet the area.
“[The calmness] is due in large part to Bada Bing’s [closing],” Matsuura said, referring to the Martini Lounge nightclub Bada Bing had opened on weekend nights last year following Hapa’s closing. Kenui and KKV manager Eileen Bereki concurred with Matsuura’s assessment.