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MPD preps for COVID-19 impact; officer quarantined

Officer had contact with person under investigation for virus

Tivoli Faaumu – Enforcement changes coming

WAILUKU — As the Maui Police Department prepares for an impact on personnel due to coronavirus exposure, one officer is currently in a 14-day self-quarantine after being exposed on the job to a person under investigation for COVID-19.

Maui County Police Chief Tivoli Faaumu said the officer was responding to a Maui case and came into contact with a person under investigation for COVID-19. The officer was sent to the emergency room and the direction from the ER doctor was to be quarantined for 14 days.

“Once they leave the compound of our department, they are out there in the unknown and their exposure is a big concern for us,” Faaumu said during a news conference Saturday afternoon at the Wailuku headquarters.

He held the conference to discuss increased visibility of state and federal agencies amid the pandemic’s spread. Faaumu was flanked by Chief Ranger Ari Wong of Haleakala National Park; Howard Rodrigues, state Department of Land & Natural Resources Conservation and Resources Enforcement Maui branch chief; and Sgt. Geoffrey Hicks of the state’s sheriff department.

“These are the law enforcement community for Maui County,” Faaumu said. “We decided to come together because there will be an impact on our personnel.”

Faaumu said he wanted the community to see the uniforms and the vehicles of the various agencies helping patrol the streets.

“You are so used to the Maui Police Department but now you will see more presence of law enforcement agencies there with us,” he said.

Also, due to the lack of personal protective equipment, a common problem across the nation, Faaumu said at times Maui police will be wearing battle dress uniforms.

* Kehaulani Cerizo can be reached at kcerizo@mauinews.com.

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