Kihei police station set to be completed in fall

KIHEI – The buildings are up and work is about 85 percent complete on a new Kihei Police Station that’s expected to meet needs in South Maui for the next 50 years.

“The lion’s share of the work is done,” police Assistant Chief Larry Hudson said Friday during a tour of the construction project. “There’s still a lot of work to do.”

He said that construction of the police station is expected to be completed in the fall. That will be nearly two years since ground was broken on Dec. 5, 2011, at the 10.2-acre site mauka of Piilani Highway at the intersection with Kanani Road.

The project has a price tag of more than $30 million, including an additional $3.25 million in bond funding recently approved by the Maui County Council for change orders, additional equipment and upgrades that police officials said weren’t foreseen when the project first went out to bid.

“We have had our share of issues, our share of change orders,” Hudson said. “We tried to think of everything, but there’s no possible way we could.”

The additional funding included $91,000 for bulletproof windows for the squad room, which is on the ground floor. After walls were completed, it became evident that there was a clear line of sight between the front public parking lot and officers in the squad room, Hudson said.

Along with a two-story, 47,000-square-foot main building, the complex will include a radio tower, mechanical building and bulk storage building.

The mechanical building has two generators, one a backup so the station shouldn’t be without power in an emergency, Hudson said. He said that the bulk storage building will include a forensic vehicle bay as well as space to store specialty vehicles and a car wash. The complex also has an impound lot behind the station.

When the station is opened, at least 65 employees, including officers and support staff, will be assigned to work there, Hudson said.

In addition to Kihei patrol and receiving desk officers downstairs, the station will house Criminal Investigation Division detectives, vice officers and training officers on the second floor, Hudson said. Police recruit training classes, now run from the Wailuku Police Station, will be moved to the Kihei station, he said.

“It’s built for the future,” said Capt. Tivoli Faaumu, commander of the Kihei Patrol District. “The station will be able to accommodate the demand as the community grows. We will be asking for more officers to provide service.”

He noted that plans call for a new high school in Kihei as well as more large-scale residential development in South Maui.

The current Kihei station operates from a storefront space in Kihei Town Center, which is in a flood zone along South Kihei Road.

“For me, the biggest relief will be in time of a disaster, like a tsunami, I don’t have to worry about evacuating the station first before helping the public,” Faaumu said.

With an average of 1,700 calls for service a month, Kihei is the second busiest patrol district in Maui County, behind the Wailuku Patrol District, which includes Kahului, Upcountry and Haiku.

Of 36 authorized positions for Kihei patrol officers, 29 are filled, Faaumu said. The district also has seven police sergeants, a lieutenant, captain and six public safety aides.

At the new Kihei station, the ground floor will include the patrol squad room and locker rooms, an evidence room and lockers, an exercise room and dojo. There’s also a receiving desk, surrounded by one-way mirrors, for handling prisoners.

From a sally port that can hold two police vehicles from end to end, there are two doors – one leading to cells to house juveniles and the other leading to adult cells, including one that’s padded and another that’s larger to handle more arrests.

People wanting to post bail for someone will be able to go to a bail-out window off a parking lot, Hudson said.

He said that the ground floor also includes a room for police to meet with community groups. And there’s space for a dispatch center that will serve as a backup location when dispatchers have to be temporarily moved from the center at the Wailuku station.

Offices for the Kihei patrol captain and lieutenant are upstairs on the makai side of the building. Information Technology services also will be upstairs.

While the buildings for the new station are in place, interior work, including plumbing, tiling and installing floors and doors, is still being done. Paving and filling of the site also hasn’t been completed.

In designing the new station, police drew on experiences with both the Wailuku station and the Lanai Police Station, which opened in 2004.

“A lot of this is built with lessons learned from the existing station,” Hudson said.

He said that the Kihei station has “all 90-degree angles,” in contrast to the Wailuku station, which has “a lot of wasted space.”

Taking into consideration factors including population, existing space requirements and projections, the Kihei station was designed to meet community needs for at least 50 years, Hudson said.

“You’re not supposed to have any major modifications to this building for 50 years, unless something changes dramatically,” he said.

To put the size of the Kihei station in perspective, he noted that some people thought the Wailuku station was too large when it was opened.

“People complained about how big the building was in Wailuku, but it’s ridiculously small,” Hudson said. “We have converted lobby space into office space. We have converted lounges into office space. We took a Xerox room and turned it into office space.”

A radio network is atop the building at the Wailuku station. There’s still a shortage of parking at the Wailuku station, even though the parking lot was expanded twice, Hudson said.

The Kihei station will go “green” with a photovoltaic system and the use of recycled water for its fire hydrants and irrigation. Monsanto, which has property next to the station, dedicated water lines and an easement to Maui County, allowing the police station to use recycled water without incurring additional cost to build transmission lines, Hudson said.

“It saved us millions of dollars,” he said.

Because Monsanto shares the driveway off Piilani Highway with the police station, a wire will activate a flashing light to let Monsanto employees know when police cars are rushing out of the station, in an effort to try to avoid collisions, Hudson said.

* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at