HPD sergeants overseeing DUI enforcement under investigation - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Exclusive: HPD sergeants overseeing DUI enforcement under criminal investigation

HPD DUI checkpoint HPD DUI checkpoint
Jonathan Burge Jonathan Burge
Arkie Koehi Arkie Koehi

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Two Honolulu police sergeants are under investigation for allegedly submitting false reports involving DUI cases. Now, it appears that drunken driving cases involving them are mysteriously getting dismissed.

Defense attorney Jonathan Burge had a DUI case set to go to trial, when he heard that two police sergeants who oversee DUI enforcement were under investigation for allegedly filing false reports. Wondering how that might affect his client's case, he sought a court order to compel prosecutors to provide more information.

"The judge granted my motion, ordered them to find out whether there was such an investigation, continued it for three weeks," Burge said. "Then when we came back from three weeks, their response was we're going to dismiss the case."

Sources say the sergeants are accused of noting in police reports that they were present at DUI roadblocks even when they were not, so they could be subpoenaed to show up at court and collect overtime.

"Normally, a police officer submits a report and they just submit it," Burge said. "(But) in a DUI case, because of the administrative driver's license revocation, they have to submit sworn statements. So they're swearing whatever they wrote is true, which could cause more problems."

"We can confirm that there is an investigation involving two sergeants with the Traffic Division," an HPD spokesperson said. "The officers have been re-assigned."

Hawaii News Now has also learned that the two face possible criminal charges.

"The cases have been referred to our office," a spokesperson for the city prosecutor's office said. "It's under investigation."

Prosecutors could not say how many DUI suspects are getting off the hook as a result.

"The police do a magnificent job of finding these people and keeping our highways safe," Arkie Koehl, Mother Against Drunk Driving, said. "Then to have procedural, or worse yet the type of thing you're talking about going on would be extremely distressing."

One of the sergeants is a 19-year veteran of HPD. The other has been on the force for 16 years.

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