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Police Team Clears Kaneohe Campsites

The District 4 Community Policing Team launched a “many-pronged” initiative Dec. 5 behind Kaneohe Library with the goal to assist homeless people as well as clean up their illegal, unsanitary campsites.

In an effort to be compassionate, officials explained, HPD officers notified people camping in the area about the scheduled cleanup two weeks ahead, as they have done prior to numerous such efforts in the past.

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Following the Dec. 5 cleanup behind the library, all of these items were removed from a platform under the bridge, which supports the main traffic artery through Kaneohe town. Photo from Honolulu Police Department.

Directed by HPD Lt. Robert Towne and joined by outreach workers from IHS, Hawaiian Humane Society, the Women’s Correctional Facility crew, city Department of Facility Maintenance and Catholic Charities, the group removed all kinds of personal items that morning, such as bikes and mattresses. They hauled out dozens of trash bags filled with discards from the area behind the library’s parking lot, by the public restrooms, under the highway bridge and in the stream channel. Heavy equipment was used in the stream.

Workers also trimmed heavy foliage to open up the area, which has for months been an enclave of sorts on the fringes of the Kaneohe Civic Center Park grounds — from the heavily used soccer field and restrooms to the jungle behind the library parking lot extension and the shelter of the bridge. Property across the stream is privately owned and was not touched.

Future events are being scheduled, including a major effort in Waimanalo beaches and parks.

“After President Obama departs, we will address it again,” said Towne, who was pleased with the partnerships created.

“It’s never totally solved though,” he added. “There are still homeless people, and it takes many tries to convince them to get help.”

In a related development, Mayor Caldwell recently signed into law an extension of the city’s so-called “sit-lie” bill to cover numerous public sidewalks in Kane-ohe, Kailua, Waimanalo and other commercial areas throughout the island.