Kealoha retires as Honolulu police chief; search to begin for replacement

Local News

Tuesday was Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha’s last official day on the job.

He retires after 33 years of service.

It’s a decision he made amid a federal investigation into conspiracy and corruption, also involving his wife, city deputy prosecutor Katherine Kealoha.

His attorney, Myles Breiner, said in a statement: “Mahalo, aloha, and pono. He is proud of his 33 years of service to the community and his commitment to the Honolulu Police Department.”

Tenari Maafala, president of SHOPO, the police officers union, recently spoke to Kealoha.

“He’s doing the best as can be expected,” said Maafala. “It’s no doubt the federal investigation has weighed down on him, and no doubt his wife and his daughter. I just encourage him, like, look. As long as you’ve done everything by the books, then let it be.”

The police commission agreed to a $250,000 severance payout, and now the search for a new chief begins.

The Honolulu Police Commission has said it wants to expand the job listing to include interested candidates from out of state in order to get the best person possible for the job.

But the police union doesn’t feel that’s necessary.

Maafala says past chiefs, like Kealoha, Boisse Correa, and Lee Donohue, have all moved up the ranks from within the department.

“Truly, an officers’ chief is what we’re looking for. With all due respect to other state candidates, we would like for somebody already in the department, and continue the continuity to what we’ve been doing, to understand the culture,” Maafala said. “The aloha spirit here is strong. We want to treat our community with the aloha spirit. That’s the foundation of the department, serving and protecting with aloha.”

As of Tuesday, the job posting for HPD police chief is not up yet. The commission says it should be up within the next week.

The commission has said a new chief could be sworn in by the end of summer 2017.

The police union says it will not hesitate to voice opinions on all possible candidates.

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