Political Experts: Expensive ads by police officers' union confu - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Political Experts: Expensive ads by police officers' union confusing

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - They cost about $25,000. Full page ads in the Star Advertiser by SHOPO, the union for police officers.

The first, was in Monday's edition. Then another Thursday.

Both start out with SHOPO President, Tenari Ma'afala, reminding readers that recent, violent incidents involving police officers, do not reflect the entire department.

Then, Ma'afala talks about political candidates that the union is endorsing.

"I would not have drawn attention to an issue that HPD has gotten a lot of negative coverage over when you're trying to show that you're a group that people should trust," Political Science Professor Colin Moore says that might make voters question your candidate choices, "That was a strategic error on their part."

Ma'afala also dedicates a significant portion of the ad to controversial issues and this is where critics say Ma'afala interjects his personal opinions about topics like rail, the super ferry and SBI -- the same sex marriage bill -- an issue Ma'afala was clearly against and very vocal about.

"I thought it was somewhat strange to be honest, I mean you expect the police officers union to weigh in on things like crime and drugs, things directly related to the police, but there's a suggestion of criticism of SB1 and something that really doesn't have much to do with the police," says Moore.

"I was a little surprised," says State Senator Sam Slom, who is on the Public Safety Committee, "Normally SHOPO talks about law enforcement issues and certainly there's enough to talk about at this time"

Ma'afala says the ads are multi-purpose. They are to remind voters that police officers have a difficult job and are working hard for the public, while endorsing candidates who appreciate and support cops.

Colin Moore isn't sure the ad will change votes, but says, they did get a lot of attention.

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