MPD cited for workplace safety violations after recruit fell into coma following run

MPD says it has already implemented changes to its recruit program.
Published: Jun. 8, 2022 at 6:59 PM HST|Updated: Jun. 8, 2022 at 9:02 PM HST
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WAILUKU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state has cited the Maui Police Department for workplace safety violations after a recruit passed out in training ending up in a coma earlier this year.

MPD said it has already implemented changes to its recruit program.

One example is monthly physical training check-ins with recruits.

“These monthly check-ins do not just test for minimum standards, but also push recruits to strive to do their bestm” said MPD Lt. Joy Medeiros.

“We talk about their dietary habits, their sleeping patterns, their mental capacity in regard to the program.”

Maui police recruit Calvin Dawn said the monthly checks keep trainees motivated.

“It’s really important that we keep our running up and our sit-ups and our push-ups, so we’re prepared for academy and also, so we’re prepared for the street,” Dawn said.

Dawn checks in monthly with Medeiros so she can monitor his progress.

“I really think that supervisors like Lt. Medeiros, they’re really helpful to the department because they keep us motivated to work out and stay in shape,” Dawn said.

The new monthly check-ins come after MPD recruit Alexa Jacobs, 27, suffered a nearly fatal heat stroke during her training in February. After her run, she fell into a coma.

Her temperature reached 107 degrees and her organs began shutting down.

Now Jacobs is almost fully recovered and she is still striving to be an officer.

Her case was investigated by the Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health Division.

“Our investigation found violations, and this under their general safety and health regulations. This is related to training of employees,” said Occupational Health Branch Manager Arthur “Roy” Talaeai.

“And then there was another validation that was for a general safety and health program.”

One of the violations was rated as “serious” and carried a fine of $10,360.

“More so than just the paying of the penalties, the Maui Police Department was cooperative during the investigation, and they’ve already taken some steps to improve some of the training elements that they put their officers through,” Talaeai said.

In addition to monthly check-ins, MPD said it has also been more forthcoming with recruits so they know exactly what is expected of them during training.

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