Neighbors question need for speed at HPD crash site

Published: Jul. 25, 2012 at 12:26 AM HST|Updated: Jul. 25, 2012 at 7:44 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - While fellow officers continued to mourn the loss of 39-year-old police officer Chad Morimoto, neighbors who live near the crash site that took his were questioning the need for high speed police training in residential areas on Tuesday.

Children at nearby summer fun camps were visibly shaken after the accident, crying to officers that showed up to console them and talk with them about their grief. The motorcycle crash that killed Officer Morimoto during a training exercise on Monday happened near Mililani District Park, where dozens of kids were playing at the time.

"It was surprising because you would think the Police Department would have certain areas designated for that kind of training," said Rosie Lucas, a Mililani resident. "And a residential area wouldn't seem appropriate."

Kevin O'Donnell, who lives on Lanikuhana Avenue, says that officers made two laps around the block at speeds that may have been two to three times the posted 25 miles per hour speed limit.

"It sounded like Nascar ripping by the house," said O'Donnell.

According to police, the officers were doing simulated motorcade training, where they rush ahead to block intersections and traffic so that dignitaries can go through without stopping. Though some question the need to conduct these exercises in residential areas, others believed the officers should be able to train in any environment.

"It's very important for them to be very well trained even for a while if nothing major is coming up," said Marcio Stella, who lives in Ewa Beach.

Members of the Honolulu Police Department and mourners from the general public continued to add flowers to the crash site, where many who expressed concerns over the high-speed training also said they felt terrible about the loss and hoped it wouldn't happen again.

"Maybe the police force will look at doing something different the next time they have to train," said O'Donnell. "Maybe they'll think a little bit differently about doing it in residential neighborhoods."

See also:

Special fund set up to help family of fallen officer

HPD solo bike officer killed in training accident

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