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As HPD faces criticism, supporters rally to show their appreciation for law enforcement

Updated: May. 9, 2021 at 5:47 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - More than a hundred people lined up outside of the Honolulu Police Department’s headquarters Saturday to show their support for local law enforcement.

“They don’t get a lot of credit and we know that sometimes morale can be really kind of low because of everything that’s going on,” said Michael Kitchens, administrator of Stolen Stuff Hawaii. “So, it’s just a thank you HPD, mahalo HPD.”

Kitchens was one of the organizers of the event who said this comes during a difficult time for Honolulu police.

“Everything from the pandemic, to what they’ve had to deal with, to you know a little bit of the narrative that’s being pushed lately,” said Kitchens.

One of HPD’s chaplains, Annie Foerster, also joined in on the rally for the people she works alongside.

“It is tense, no doubt about it, but you know there’s a lot going on right now, our chief is retiring, and we’ve got various cases going and so on,” said Foerster. “And we just try and keep focused on the positive and know that God has a plan.”

But, even families of police officers are overwhelmed by seeing officers across the country face so much criticism.

“It’s honestly, more of I think a discouragement because it’s like, no matter what, they put their life on the line, it’s like, is it worth it?” said Fesolai. “Another fear of mine is my husband will be put on the line because he does his job.”

Supporters of law enforcement said the public should focus on finding ways to better the department rather than advocate for defunding it.

“We need to give more to the police you know so that they can get the things that they need to better each aspect of the police department,” said Fesolai.

“Of course I’m disappointed when I see legislative bodies begin to defund and talk about those things,” said Jack James, one of the organizers of the rally.

“Ok, we need a healthy, prosperous, police department that have oversight and have to have transparency and we agree with all of that, but we need to support our police.”

James and Kitchens said because of Saturday’s turnout, they plan to host more rallies.

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