The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

January 31, 2009

Arcadia draws duo from Hawaii

By Greg Grisolano

ARCADIA, Kan. — Mark Hunsaker says love of his boyhood home prompts him to spend thousands of dollars and countless hours on planes to commute from Honolulu to Arcadia, where he serves as a part-time police officer on weekends.

But he won’t elaborate on his motives and hasn’t answered questions from citizens in the Crawford County community of 400 about his role as a peace officer, beyond saying, “A lot of communities have part-time law enforcement.”

Pressed for details, he said: “The Arcadia Police Department will have no comment.”

Hunsaker — an accountant and former volunteer commissioner with the Honolulu Police Commission — also won’t say how much he has spent on plane tickets, gas, hotel accommodations and out-of-pocket travel expenses associated with the 9,600-mile round trip he has made at least once a month since July 2007. Nor will he say how much of his own money has been spent equipping himself with a uniform, badge, gun and other law-enforcement equipment. While he does draw a yearly salary of $100 from the city of Arcadia, city officials say Hunsaker donates those funds back.

Ditto for Hunsaker’s friend Ralph Black, who has served as a part-time police officer for Arcadia since last September. Like Hunsaker, Black, a tax attorney from Hilo, Hawaii, has spent an unknown amount of his own money on travel expenses, and to purchase and outfit a police car.

Black has no known ties to Arcadia, beyond his friend Hunsaker.

‘Hobby cops’

Folks in Arcadia say it’s strange the city has two part-time cops making a commute from Hawaii to patrol the streets of their small town once or twice a month.

“I think they’re playing hobby cops,” said Kristina Stansbury.

Steve Lechliter, another Arcadia resident, wonders about city liability should Hunsaker or Black become involved in an accident or injure someone in the line of duty.

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Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said Tuesday that a tax cut approved by the Legislature could have a “cataclysmic” effect on state revenues to the tune of $4.8 billion. House Majority Leader John Diehl calls that “absurd.” Who do you believe?

A. Nixon
B. Diehl
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