Questions surround police chief’s retirement ahead of commission meeting

Local News

Click here to view our coverage of Wednesday’s commission meeting.

What will police chief Louis Kealoha walk away with when his retirement becomes official?

It’s a question the Honolulu Police Commission will answer at its meeting Wednesday.

Kealoha, who has not been charged with any crime, agreed to retire after receiving a letter from federal authorities, stating that he is the target of a criminal investigation.

We spoke with a labor attorney to find out what the chief is entitled to as part of his employment agreement.

Charles Khim says there are too many unknowns over the chief’s retirement benefits. They have not yet been made public, and he says they should be.

It’s an argument that the Honolulu City Council is fighting for as well. Council member Ron Menor wants the commission to open discuss details of the chief’s retirement, but the commission declined.

Khim says until those details are made public, taxpayers could be paying double for a new police chief and for Kealoha’s current contract, which was supposed to expire in two years.

We dug into public records and found that Kealoha’s salary was recently set at $182,088. His second 5-year term ends in 2019, and sources say he agreed to retire with close to that until his term ends.

Khim says that’s fair.

“The chief entered into a contract on the understanding that’s what his annual salary would be,” Khim said.

“So he’s walking away with what he’s entitled to?” KHON2 asked.

“Yes,” Khim replied.

Police commission chairman Max Sword defended his decision to discuss details behind closed doors, saying it’s due to personnel matters.

We showed Khim documents given to us from the city, which do not tell us how much Kealoha could walk away with.

Khim tells us Kealoha’s re-appointment letter is not a contract and doesn’t spell out important details regarding his deal with the


We’ve asked repeatedly for a contract, if there is one. We’ve gone to the Department of Human Resources, the police commission, and the Honolulu Police Department, but was only given an employment agreement for Kealoha’s second term.

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