Beloved Former Police Chief Michael Nakamura Dies

(KHNL) He was still called chief long after his retirment, a sign of the respect the community and the police department had for him. Saturday former Honolulu police chief Michael Nakamura died at Kuakini Medical Center surrounded by family and friends.

Michael Nakamura rose through the ranks to become police chief in 1990. He is highly regarded for the sweeping changes he made to Hawaii laws to improve public safety, but he's best know for his popularity with the rank and file and his uncanny ability to remember their birthdays

He had an open door policy and encouraged friends and officers to talk story.

 "I've been with him for last seven years, really a wonderful experience such an easy person to work for" said his secretary, Gertrude Sato, upon his retirement in 1997. 

At his retirement fellow officers reflected on his accomplishments. 

"A very good chief. He gave us good leadership" said Major Robert Au.

 And as he said goodbye back in 1997 he passed on some advice to the next chief:

"That he pay attention to rank and file take care of the department first. When you have a healhtty workforce then they can go out an serve this community."

Two years ago he was the victim of a hit and run. A 20 year old man hit the chief as he was crossing a Mililani intersection on his scooter. He suffered two broken legs in the accident. Nakamura later publically forgave the man who ran him over.

In recent weeks his family says his physical condiiton deteriorated. Nakamura was surrounded by family and friends when he passed away at the hospital Saturday. Former chief Michael Nakamura, truly one of Honolulu's finest.

He was 58 years old. Aloha, chief.