The Honolulu Police Department is going through changes with its chief of police, Louis Kealoha, retiring in about a month.
There are new leaders in the department as 44 officers moved up the ranks Wednesday. We wanted to know how they plan to make positive changes in the department.
With details of Kealoha’s early retirement finally hashed out, the Honolulu Police Commission says it’s ready to move from under the dark cloud the department has been in for a year — namely the federal investigation involving Kealoha and his wife, Katherine, a city deputy prosecutor.
Newly promoted assistant chiefs Clyde Ho, regional patrol, and Richard Robinson, investigative bureau, are now among the six highest-ranking officials in HPD.
They told us they would like the department to be more open with the public, and they want a chief with a strong leadership style with the ability to talk to the community.
“Anyone in the department should consider be chief, being they want to make a difference,” said Clyde Ho, assistant chief, regional patrol, “someone you can follow and lead the department through, whether it’s rough times and good times.”
“The same way you would respond and be open to questions from your boss, I think we should respond the same way to the community,” said Richard Robinson, assistant chief, investigative bureau. “I don’t think there should be issues where we’re afraid to tell them what we’re doing. I think the community wants to know. Communities are much more interested in what we do, and I think we should invite the conversation.”
The search for a new chief will officially begin once Kealoha retires on March 1.
For now, acting chief Cary Okimoto remains the leader of HPD, but he will also have to apply for the position once the search begins.
As for what morale has been like in the department, “I think the officers have seen under Chief Okimoto that we have changed direction,” said Robinson. The 27-year veteran of the department says he won’t waste the opportunity.
“Are you aware that your role is now magnified because you are now under a leadership role, and everyone is watching the department to see where it’s going to go this year?” KHON2 asked.
“I think every officer is being watched, and I think that’s a good thing. I think every officer should be a leader,” Robinson replied.
Ho, a 28-year veteran of the department, said “the direction and focus is all the good things. We do a lot of good things in our police department, and we move on from there.”
At the last meeting, commissioner Loretta Sheehan submitted documents for public record that detail how she wanted to handle Kealoha’s retirement process.
We have yet to receive them.