Honolulu's Police chief looks back on his first term - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Honolulu's Police chief looks back on his first term

HPD Chief Louis Kealoha HPD Chief Louis Kealoha
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

It's been five years since Louis Kealoha was sworn in as Chief of Police in Honolulu.

The former Captain jumped rank and other, more experienced candidates to win the appointment in November of 2009.

But with the fourth star on the shoulder came the burden of leading a department 2500 strong. Kealoha admits, there was a learning curve.

"It was a challenge, a big challenge," Kealoha says of his quick rise to the top.

In his five years he has dealt with so called, blue flus -- officers calling in sick in protest, several fatal police shootings, and had three officers die in the line of duty.

“You can never get used to something like that happening,” he says, “Each line of duty death, I can tell you exactly where I was when I received the call."

Recently, he has endured criticism from politicians, domestic violence advocates and the public after a violent video of a Sgt. fighting with his girlfriend was leaked to the media. And then, weeks later, video surfaced of another officer kicking two men in a game room, and then throwing a chair at one of them.

"You cannot take this personal. This is the job,” he says, “If you don't like the scrutiny, if you don't like having to deal with crisis and things like that, then this isn't the job for you."

While the high-profile cases sometimes overshadow Kealoha's tenure, he does have a lot that he's proud of. The success of the APEC conference in 2011 when world leaders and tourists descended on Honolulu. And Kealoha says his officers do great things every day but aren't given media attention. He says that frustrates him.

There are several issues he wants to tackle in the next five years. One of those, expanding neighborhood watch groups.

“Developing community partnerships. We're one of the safest big cities in the nation but keeping it safe cannot rest on the shoulders of the police department alone,” says Kealoha.

He is also working to make the department more transparent, more open about internal issues.

“Build more trust between the community and the police department. It takes awhile to build trust, takes only a second to break. So we want to develop that trust so when things happen, we get into a crisis or we get into trouble, people trust us.”

Kealoha says he does have moments of doubt and times when he feels overwhelmed, but he says his faith, family and friends carry him through those times. He says he feels like he has settled into the position and looks forward to the next five years.

Copyright 2014 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved. 

Powered by Frankly