HONOLULU (KHON2) — Hawaii Gov. David Ige released a statement on a former public safety director’s death.

Nolan Espinda was the director of the Department of Public Safety and served as the warden at the Halawa Correctional Facility, according to DPS.

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Espinda began his career at DPS in 1983, working in different positions in the department.

Ige said Nolan Espinda’s career was spent serving the public in Hawai’i’s corrections facilities and administration, jobs that are always difficult and often thankless.

I am saddened by this sudden and tragic loss, and I express my deepest appreciation for Nolan’s dedication and years of public service. I wish his family strength and comfort in the difficult days ahead.


Hawaii Department of Public Safety’s Public Information Officer Toni Schwartz echoed Ige’s thoughts on Espinda’s career.

Schwartz said Espinda dedicated his entire career to corrections and to serving the people of the State of Hawaii.

“His tragic untimely loss leaves us all stunned. We want to express our deepest condolences to his family and his DPS ohana,” said Schwartz.

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Espinda was voted in by the Senate in April of 2019 to serve another four years before retiring on Aug. 31.

Nolan Espinda’s wife, Malia Espinda, shared a heartfelt statement about her husband’s principles and core values through 40 years of public service for the State of Hawaii.

“Nolan was the most brilliant, visionary and principled man I have ever known. 

‘Just do the right thing every time’ was his mantra, and he held an unwavering core value of his personal responsibility to every taxpayer in Hawaii. 

Nolan was a man of few words, but a man of strong actions and stronger convictions. 

Acting on his convictions inevitably brought resistance and criticism from some who misunderstood his purpose. 

With the strength of his broad shoulders, Nolan endured through all, until he could no more. 

We have lost a beautiful, deeply loving man who his children and I will miss forever more.”